Skip to main content

Full text of "The Gentleman's magazine library : being a classified collection of the chief contents of the Gentleman's magazine from 1731 to 1868. Edited by George Laurence Gomme"

See other formats















SINCE the writers in the old Gentleman's Magazine occupied them- 
selves with lucubrations about fairies and their ways and habits, 
the study of folk-lore has passed from the hands of the curiosity- 
monger to those of the scientific student. The world has learnt, all 
too late, that man's history is the grandest scientific problem to be 
solved ; that 

"The proper study of mankind is man," 

and that to obtain, anything like adequate results in this stupendous 
study, every tittle of evidence is necessary. All the established forms 
of religion have long been recognised as materials for history ; but 
it is only just now that we are looking to the old faiths and traditions 
for information ; and this new study has enabled us to recognise two 
fundamental laws of man's history the persistence of custom and 
the persistence of tradition. 

It is with. the latter subject that we have most to do in the present 
volume of collections from the Gentleman's Magazine Traditional 
Lore, as I Have ventured to entitle the contents of the following 
pages. One of the most extensive divisions into which traditional 
lore is grouped, is that relating to fairies. Literature has, as long ago 
certainly as the days of Spenser, Drayton, and Shakespeare, turned 
its attention to the doings of fairies, and it appears to me that the 
fascination, which these beings have exercised over the poetic imagi- 
nation has done much to obscure the archaeological importance of 
the traditions which exist concerning them. When the stately verse 
of Milton (see pp. 39, 41) is influenced by the traditional doings of 
fairies, we may imagine that minds like those we have mentioned 
above, like also Herrick and other poets, should turn to fairies for 

vi Introduction. 

some of their brightest imagery. On pp. 47-50 will be found some 
specimens of the way in which minor poets have dealt with the fairies. 
But, if later poetical literature has idealized fairies, the era before 
Shakespeare did much worse it did not, like Shakespeare, go to the 
woods and fields of Warwickshire and other counties for its infor- 
mation about fairies, but it tacked on the old classical mythology to 
fairy beliefs, and so enabled Chaucer to write 

" Pluto that is king of the fayerye," 

and to state elsewhere that Proserpine was Queen of the Fairies. 
Thus literature first, by mythologizing (if I may say so), and then 
by idealizing has obscured the true meaning of the traditions about 

What this true meaning is may be gathered from chapter vi. 
of Nilsson's Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia, and from an 
article by Mr. Grant Allen in the Cornhill Magazine for March, 
1 88 1, entitled, "Who were the Fairies?" In the paper on Irish 
Folklore (pp. 3-32), it is seen how intimately connected the fairies 
were with the raths and duns, the barrows and tumuli, of the district. 
And archaeology would suggest that a comparative study of this sub- 
ject brings out the fact that the fairies, a small pigmy race, represent 
traditions of that early aboriginal people, short and dark, who preceded 
the Aryan occupation of Europe. There are, of course, objections to 
this theory, but the opening paragraph on Irish Folklore (p. 3) 
contains a distinct tradition of the earliest inhabitants being turned 
into fairies. 

To pass from the section devoted to FAIRY BELIEFS to that on 
LEGENDS AND TRADITIONS, is not difficult ; for out of the traditional 
reverence for and belief in fairies has grown a corpus of traditional 
narrative which has induced people to roughly classify all legends 
and traditions as fairy tales. It is not a correct or convenient 
classification. Traditional stories have a far wider reach than fairy 
tales, and it would be difficult to separate those dealing with heroic 
fairies and those dealing with heroic men and women. In 
Scotland, as we know from Mr. J. F. Campbell's Tales from the West 
Highlands, there is no lack of material still extant among the peasantry. 
In Ireland, Crofton Croker's Fairy Legends and Traditions of the 
South of Ireland, Kennedy's Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, 
and Fireside Stories of Ireland, and the stories still being communi- 
cated to the Folklore Society's publications from time to time, shew 

Introduction. vi 

the same state of things to exist But in England, we have very little 
of such popular literature left Such stories as Tom Hickathrift 
may, according to the opinion of Sir Francis Palgrave,* approximate 
so nearly to the folk-tales of Europe, as to be entitled to a place among 
them. The story of Catskin, preserved in ballad and chap-book 
form, may be another English folk-tale (see Folklore Record, vol. iii. 
pp. 1-25). Wayland Smith (p. 129) is unquestionably a variant of the 
Scandinavian original. The Pedlar legend of Swaffham (p. 109) may 
be grouped with a large class of stories relating to the finding of buried 
treasure; and the Stepney Lady story (p. 122) is a very curious 
variant of a well-known folk-tale. Mr. Halliwell Phillips, in his 
Nursery Rhymes and Tales, has collected the most important English 
stories, while such books as Roby's Traditions of Lancashire and 
Fryer's English fairy Tales, do not allow us to determine the border- 
land between literary fancy and traditional narrative. The stories to 
be found in England are for the most part purely local, such as here 
printed from the Gentleman's Magazine (pp. 100-132), originating in 
some supposed fact which occurred in the places where they have been 
told ; personal, such as the dragon stories (pp. 72-82) connected with 
heroes like Guy of Warwick, Bevis of Hampton, and the others ; or 
Saints' legends (66-72), which, exceedingly curious and instructive 
though they frequently are, cannot be identified with purely English 
tradition, when they come to us in the questionable garb of monkish 
narrative. While speaking of English stories, I may relate one told 
to myself and my friend, Mr. J. J. Foster, at Cearne in Dorsetshire. 
We were questioning a labourer as to the giant figure cut in the turf 
at that place. He assured us that it was supposed to be the repre- 
sentation of a Danish giant who led an invasion of this coast, and lay 
on the side of the hill to sleep ; while asleep the peasantry tied him 
down to the ground and cut off his head, and the outline in the turf 
represents the place where the giant lay. Upon being asked how long 
ago this was supposed to be, the answer was, "About a hundred years." 
It is a problem for folklorists, and one which would be productive 
of much valuable information, if carried out with proper scientific 
spirit to ascertain the causes why England should not have preserved 
her folk-tales so long current in popular tradition as other European 
nations. The Latin races, Spain, Italy, and France, are now col- 
lecting their folk-tales in great abundance ; Germany is well-known 
as the pioneer of such studies by the aid of the brothers Grimm ; 

* Quarterly Revinv, vol. xxi., pp. 102, 103. 

viii Introduction. 

Scandinavia and the North are yet almost unworked, but are full of 
material ; while in Mr. Ralston's Songs of the Russian People and 
Russian Folk-Tales we may obtain some idea of what exists in Eastern 
Europe.* Beowulf may be considered our national epic, but it does 
not stand to English people like the Nibelungen to the Germans, the 
Sagas to the Norse, the Kalewala to the Finn, the Iliad and Odyssey 
to the old Greeks, the Pentateuch to the Hebrews, the Vedas to the 
Hindu, nor like the Ossianic cycle to the Scottish and Irish. The 
Arthurian cycle of tales is the nearest approach to being national in 
its characteristics ; and Professor Sayce agrees with Mr. Coote that 
the main figure of these stories was Artorius, a Roman general. 
Is it then that the Roman conquest uprooted the Celtic legends and 
overshadowed the later Teutonic legends ? Such a question may 
well be asked of students of English traditional lore ; for the only 
alternative is, that, just as Cicero had to lament the loss of the 
old national legends and stories of the Romans (see Cicero, In 
Brutum, 19), so have we to lament that science has been so laggard 
in her recognition of the value of this important branch of materials 
for English history, that the opportunity has irretrievably passed away 
for its recovery. 

The stories reprinted in this volume, however, though they do not 
throw fresh light on English popular tradition, will be found, I think, 
acceptable. The Ossian legends (pp. 133-173) will no doubt prove 
a not unimportant contribution to this subject. It is not generally 
known that Macpherson, in 1760, before he published his now 
world-famous volume, contributed two of the poems to the Gentleman's 
Magazine. These, and another contribution printed after the volume 
was published, are now reprinted. They are followed by several im- 
portant contributions of Erse popular poetry, gathered in the High- 
lands by Mr. T. F. Hill. Until a few years ago, these valuable 
fragments remained perfectly unknown. Mr. Campbell first noticed 
them as detailed in the notes (p. 340), and then they were pub- 
lished in the Scottish magazine, The Gael, and afterwards reprinted, 
edited, and corrected in 1878. With reference to this portion of 
the volume I have to acknowledge the very generous and valuable 
aid afforded me by the Rev. Dr. Donald Masson, of Edinburgh. Dr. 
Masson looked through and corrected the proof-sheets, and supplied 

* It is perhaps worth while referring to the table in the Folklore Journal vol i 
pp. 41-5. "or a brief synopsis of the books on European folk-tales. 

Introduction. ix 

me with the means of obtaining all the valuable notes at the end 
of the volume. 

The next section is devoted to PROPHECIES, DREAMS, and GHOST- 
STORIES, a subject that has recently been receiving much attention, 
both psychologically and archasologically. The Society for the 
Advancement of Psychical Research is investigating ghost-stories 
with all the vigour necessary for detailed analysis of the surround- 
ings and possibilities of spirit appearances. On the archaeological 
side we have Mr. Ingram's two volumes of The Haunted Homes and 
family Traditions of Great Britain, which, though they contain many 
curious ghost-stories, do not give many of those mentioned in the 
following pages. Beyond this work of collection, however, we now 
possess Mr. Lang's valuable study in the Fortnightly Review, on "The 
Comparative Study of Ghost-Stories," while in Mr. Edward Clodd's 
Myths and Dreams, the phenomenon of dreams is scientifically 
handled. The enormous influence exercised by dreams in the 
formation of man's thought has long been recognised by anthropo- 
logists ; and the curious examples which were contributed to the 
Gentleman's Magazine will no doubt be read with interest Dreams, 
however, affect individuals, while ghost-stories are attached to 
places and families; and I much question whether the majority 
of family ghost-stories are not descended from some archaic original, 
which would tell us something of early traditions. In my Folklore 
Relics of Early Village Life (p. 37), I have given an example of this; 
and I have collected some others, besides which there are one or two 
which may be selected from Mr. Ingram's book. The ghost-stories 
told in the Gentleman's Magazine do not partake of this archaic 
characteristic, as they relate to events which were supposed to have 
occurred within the cognizance or in the memory of the writers. 
Every one almost has heard of the famous Cock Lane imposture, 
and of Lord Lyttleton's Ghost. The former is not reprinted in this 
volume, but the latter narrative will be found on pp. 197-199. The 
Oxford Ghost (pp. 190, 191), and the Cambridge Ghost (pp. 185-190), 
are both exceedingly curious narratives. 

The last section is devoted to CUSTOMS OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES 
AND PEOPLES. In this age of comparative science it is not necessary 
to point out the value of this section as throwing light on all branches 
of folklore. Many important books have been published on savage 
customs, and Williams's Fiji and the Fijians should be consulted for 
the Fiji customs on pp. 303-311. Upon the general subject the reader 

x Introduction. 

would consult Dr. Tylor's Primitive Culture, Early History of Mankind 
and Anthropology ; Sir John Lubbock's Origin of Civilization ; 
Mr. McLennan's Primitive Marriage ; Mr. Farrer's Primitive 
Manners and Customs ; and Mr. Lang's Custom and Myth. The 
keynote to it all is, that in savage customs we often find the first 
parent of civilized superstition, or fancy, or myth ; and to properly 
study the latter, we must be well acquainted with the variant 
forms extant in all civilized countries : so that, armed then with 
the typical " survival" of any given custom, superstition, or myth, 
we may go into the homes and lands of savage people to find the 
primitive idea from which it sprang. This is a large subject, and is 
engaging deeply the thoughts of many travellers and thinkers. 
Travellers now go armed with a knowledge of the kind of informa- 
tion wanted. In the days when contributors wrote to the Gentleman's 
Magazine, this was not so ; and therefore we find valuable pieces of 
information, amidst much that is of no value. It were needless for 
me to point out here the particular value of this portion of the book, 
because each reader will ascertain that for himself; but I must note 
the curious example of patriarchal government which is recorded 
on page 313, a subject that is just now particularly interesting, since 
the publication of Mr. Donald McLennan's Patriarchal Government 
which so completely controverts Sir Henry Maine's theories as 
advocated in his well-known work, Ancient Law and the books 
which followed. The processional customs of the Continent are 
curious and interesting, and the " Cries of Paris " (see p. 238) forms 
a parallel paper to the " Cries of London " in the volume of the 
Gentleman's Magazine Library on " Manners and Customs." 

In this volume I have omitted portions of the text of some of the 
communications, always indicating such omissions by the use of 

or by a footnote. It is difficult to decide where these omissions 

can properly be made ; and I have always erred on the side of giving 
too much rather than too little. It must not be lost sight of that the 
plan of these reprints does not include "restoration." I have aimed 
at being textually correct as far as possible ; but I do not pretend to 
have looked up every authority used or quoted, and far less do I 
pretend to set right opinions and conclusions which now are known 
to be wrong. To the scientist such work would be totally useless, 
because he will use the material here gathered together guided by 
his own knowledge ; for the dilettanti I cannot undertake to work 
out what would be a very laborious undertaking. I have received 

Introduction. xi 

such generous criticism from the press that I am all the more anxious 
to place my case fairly before them, so that they may judge by what 
I profess to undertake. And if I succeed in giving the scientific 
student some scraps of useful information, and in inducing the general 
reader to look at these matters more closely, my aim will have been 

The following papers I have not thought it worth while to reprint, 
and therefore note them here : 

Of Fortune-telling, 1732, pp. 1008-1009. 

Of titles of honour, and an order of knighthood among the Hotten- 
tots, 1741, pp. 480-481. 

Customs of marrying and burying at Aleppo, 1756, pp. 379-380. 

Fragments of Scots poetry, translated from the Erse, 1760, pp 


Custom on the coast of Malabar, 1761, p. 86. 

Customs of Geneva, 1761, pp. 168-169. 

Dream of buried treasure, 1769, p. 526. 

Specimen of Finnish poetry, 1780, pp. 322. 

Fragment of Erse legend, 1781, pp. 259-260. 

Prophecy of S. Malachy on the succession of Roman Pontiffs, 

J 797, PP- 3 82 '3 8 3- 

Manners and customs of the Arabians, 1802, Part I., pp. 322-323. 

Customs of the East, 1807, Part I., pp. 227-228. 

Legend of the Moorish lovers, 1839, P art !> PP- 248-251. 

Notice of a few of the most remarkable festivals of the kingdom of 
Belgium, 1849, Part I., pp. 484-489. [This is curious, but it is 
obtained from a well known book Clement's Histoire des Fetes 
de la Belgique, 1 846.] 

Notices of the American Indians, 1857, Part I., pp. 137-138. 

The contributors to this volume include Dr. Samuel Pegge, 
J. Noake, John Macdonald, J. P. Malcolm, and W. Hamper, who 
are mentioned in the prefaces to previous volumes. The new names 
are, Charles Berington, the famous English Roman Catholic prelate, 
who died on 8 June, 1798, and of whom there is mention in the 
Gentleman's Magazine for that year, p. 542 ; John Carey, no doubt 
the Irish classical scholar and author, born in 1756, died in 1829 ; 
J. M. Gutch, the author of Robin Hood Ballads, in 1847 ; Thomas 
Ford Hill, F.S.A., the antiquary and philologist, who died at Ariano 
on 10 July, 1795 ( see Gent. Mag., 1795, Part II., p. 705); James 
Macpherson, whom we recognise in " Cahdonius ;" Stephen Storage 

xii Introduction. 

[Storace], in whom we may perhaps recognise the father of Stefano 
Storace, the celebrated musical composer, born in 1763, and of Anna 
Silina Storace, the actress ; J. C. Atkinson, Edgar Bochart, John 
F. M. Dovaston, Arthur B. Evans, W. Herbert, O'Dell Travers Hill, 
Rev. John O'Hanlon, J. Payne, D. Parkes, W. Reader, Tho. Serel, 
William Smith, and John Walker. 

The present volume completes the series dealing with subjects 
included under the title of Folklore, and we now pass on to 

May, 1885. 


Irish Folk- Lore 

Remarks on the Reliques of Ancient Poetry Fairies 
A Fairy Tale 

Song of the Fairies - 

The Trows of the Zetlanders - 

Fairies of Scotland - 
The Good People 

The Gabriel Hounds 

Origin of "Old Nick" 

A Popular Superstition elucidated 


Devil's-Jumps at Thursley 

Fairy Toot 

Fairy Rings 

Midsummer-Eve Appearances - 

St. Blase, Patron of Wool Combers 

St. Cecilia 

St. George 

St Nicholas 

St. Swithin 

St. Valentine 

St. Wenefrede 

Guy, Earl of Warwick 

The Dragon of Wanlley 

The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heughs 

The Dragon of the Ancients 

Robin Hood 

The Romance of Robert the Devil 

Shakespeare's Shylock 

Legend of the Artifice of the Thong 













xiv Contents. 


Goodwin's Guile - -98 

Fair Rosamond - - 98 

The King and the Tinker 98 

Beth-Gellert Legend 99 

Legend of the Giant's Cave - - too 

Church Building Legend - - 101 

Legend of the Origin of Whitstable - 101 

A Legend of Cheddar Cliffs - - 103 

A Legend of Merionethshire ... - - 107 

The Pedlar of Swaffham - 109 

Peeping Tom of Coventry -no 

Legend of the Wild Cat - - 1 16 

Legends of the Monastery of St. Hilda - - 117 

St. Keyne's Well - 119 

Legend of the Brother's Steps 121 

The Stepney Lady - 122 

Daundelynn 122 

Legend of Iloston-stone - 123 

The Grey Geese of Addlestrop Hill 125 

Legend of a Stone at Kellington - 129 

Way land Smith - 129 

Legend of the Devil's Dike - 130 

Traditional Story of a Water-Serpent - - 132 

Fragments of Erse Poetry (Ossian) collected in the Highlands - 133 


Old Nixon - 177 

Prophecy on the Death of Richard III. - - 177 

Fortune-Teller - 178 

Prediction of Death - - - 178 

Illness Cured by a Dream - -178 

Dream Fatally Realized - 179 

Revelation by Dream - 179 

A Singular Dream - - 180 

Ghosts - - 183 

Apparition at Tewing - 184 

Apparition at Cambridge - 185 

Apparition at Oxford - 190 

Apparitions Foretelling Death - -191 

An Account of a Remarkable Apparition - 195 

Ghost at Kilncote - - 197 

Instances of Maniacal Delusion (Ix>rd Lyttelton) - - 197 

History of a Ghost, towards the Latter End of the Reign of Lewis XIV. 199 

The Red Man 202 

Ghosts and Horse-shoes - 204 

Instructions for Exorcising Evil Spirits . - 205 

Ghosts in Worcestershire - 208 

Contents. xv 


Modes of Salutation 213 

On Funeral Ceremonies - 215 

On the Scarabseus - - 219 

On Ancient and Modern Customs - 221 

Roman Manners - - 226 

Ancient Roman Customs - 227 

An Etruscan Marriage - 231 

Wedding the Adriatic - 232 

The Bite of the Tarantula - 233 

Cross Day at Corfu - 237 

Cries of Paris in the Thirteenth Century - 238 

Royal Marriage Custom in France 243 

Witchcraft in France 243 

Singular Custom in Picardy 243 

Amusements of the Florentines - 244 

Funeral Customs in Holland - - 245 

Cormass Procession - - - 245 

Christmas-Eve at Goldsberg - 249 

Festival of Corpus Christi at Lisbon 251 

Legend of Montserrat - 256 

Kossack Marriage Custom - - 25? 

Original Notes of a Traveller in Russia in 1679 - - 257 

Herta, or the Storm-Compeller 260 

Swedish Legend - 262 

Manners, Customs, etc., of the Greenlanders - 263 

Lapland Tradition of the Origin of the World - - 265 

Manners of the Esquimaux Indians 265 

Manners of the Kamschatkadales - - 268 

Account of the Inhabitants of Koreki 272 

The Kurelski Islanders 273 

Tradition Concerning the Kings of Ceylon 274 

Legend of Palia Gadh 277 

On the Cremation of Indian Widows - 278 

Funeral Ceremonies of an Indian King - 285 

Account of the Hindoo Ceremony of Swinging 286 

Barampore Religious Ceremony 288 

Funeral Ceremonies of the Tatars 289 

Marriage Custom of the Abyssinians - 291 

Canary Islanders - - 291 

Cosmogony of the Taheiteans - 293 

Manners, etc., of the Natives of Hutaitee - 299 

Ceremonies of the Treaty with the Cherokees 301 

Customs of Guiana - - 3 2 

The Ledrone Islands 33 

Customs of Feejee Islands - - 33 

Indian Notions Concerning the Supreme Being - 3 H 



Account of the Natives of Louisiana 
Nottoway Indians 

Manners, etc, of the Indians of Quito 
North- American Indian Superstitions 
New England Marriage Custom 
Singular Custom among the Americans - 


INDEX .... 

- 3" 

- 3M 

- 316 

- 321 

- 32* 

- 327 

- 349 

Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

VOL. iv. 


Irish Folk-lore. 

[1865, Fart II., pp. 281-291.] 

[Passages that arc merely prefatory or which comment on the items of folk-lore 
enumerated, are omitted.] 

IN the following collection only a few Irish legends, acquired from 
tradition, have been produced by the writer. They are intro- 
duced in a garb and shape adopted without any literary pretension. 

The ancient and early settlers of Ireland, called Tuatha de Danaans, 
are thought to have been the first professors of Druidism ; but they 
are certainly known to have been adepts in the arts of sorcery and 
magic. It is said they were transformed into fairies at some remote 
period, and consigned to subterranean habitations, under green hill- 
sides, raths, cairns, and tumuli. In Brittany, also, a country which 
held many ancient usages and practices common in our own, trolds 
and spirits, with dwarfs and fairies, popular myths of old, haunt the 
woods, rocks, streams, and fountains. The raths of Ireland must 
have been very numerous in former times, as proved, not only because 
of the number yet remaining, but also from the fact that the com- 
pound Rath, Raw, Rah, Ray, or Ra is found connected with the 
nomenclature of more than one thousand different localities in this 
island Here the spirit-people love to congregate, but difficult it 
must prove to collect perfectly authentic accounts of their social 
economy, amusements, and pursuits. 

Music heard beside these raths on a fine evening, often induces 
mortals to linger with delight, although danger may be incurred by 
listening to such syren melody. Benevolence is sometimes exercised 
towards mortals by the fairies, who are said to cure men and women 
of infirmities and diseases, or who are thought to remove deformities 
or disagreeable misfortunes. They often communicate supernatural 
power to mortals, and invisibly assist them. Again, these creatures 
are found of a malevolent and mischievous disposition ; frequently 

Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

abducting mortals to serve some selfish or degrading purpose, 
paralyzing their energies and prospects of worldly happiness, or 
leaving a long inheritance of sickness and sorrow on afflicted in- 
dividuals and families. A libation of cow's beestlieens some of the 
thick new milk given after calving wht-n poured on the rath, is 
believed to appease the anger of offtnded fairies. 

The Irish word pronounced s/tee is the usual generic name applied 
to that denomination of supernatural creatures known in the bister 
Kingdoms as fairies, elves, or pixies. The farr-shee is known as the 
man-fairy ; the ban-shee is recognised as the woman-fairy ; sometimes 
we have the term mna-shee ("women fairies'"), used with peculiar 
diminutions known in the Irish language. The Fear-sighes are chiefly 
alluded to in ancient legendary-lore; and the Bean-sighes are usually 
known as a distinctive class of imaginary beings when wailing for 
anticipated deaths. In the fairy soldier troops, only men appear; 
among the moonlight or fairy palace revellers, fine-dressed lords and 
ladies are indiscriminately mingled in social enjoyments. Within their 
luxurious halls, songs and strains of ravishing music and rhythm are 
heard, which transport with a delicious enthusiasm the souls of 
mortals, and tingle on the ear with melodious cadenzas that long 
haunt the memory and imagination. 

Evening is the time usually selected for fairy migrations from raths 
and dells ; it is also the favourite juncture for indulging in their 
peculiar pastimes and revels. In his "Songs of the Pixies," Cole- 
ridge attributes a like propensity to the Devonshire "race of beings 
invisibly small, and harmless or friendly to man " 

The summer or autumn nights were selected by our Irish fairies 
as most appropriate occasions for congregating their dancing-parties 
in secluded vales near runnel banks, whilst the gurgling water trickles 
along its sheltered course. Sometimes they sport beside a lake or river, 
neur old ivied castles, or oftentimes within the gloomy precincts of 
some graveyard, under the walls of its ruined church, or over lonely 
tombs of the dead. Harvest-time is remarkable for affording frequent 
glimpses of our Irish fairies. They are, however, very jealous of 
mortal intrusion, and commonly proceed to wreak vengeance on all 
unbidden interlopers at their revels. The wild harmonies of zephyr 
breezes are supposed to be the murmuring musical voices of fairies 
on their travels. Although elfin sports may continue during night, 
the first glow of morning is a signal for instant departure to their 
raths, deep caverns, rocky crevices, or old cairns, where their fabled 
dwellings are carefully concealed from the eye of mortal. On alight- 
ing at, or departing from, a particular spot, their rapid motion 
through air creates a noise somewhat resembling the loud humming 
of bees when swarming from a hive. Sometimes what is called s/iee- 
gaoit/ie (Ai.glicfe, "a whirlwind"), is supposed to have been raised by 
the passing fairy host. 

Irish Folk-lore. 

Those strange sounds caused by crackling furze-blossoms, are^ 
attributed to fairy presence. They shelter beneath clumps of gorse- 
thickets, love the scent of their flowers, and mark out beaten tracks 
through the wiry grass growing round their roots; they sip ambrosial 
dew from out the yellow cup leafed blossoms ; they also suck dew- 
drops from other leaves and flowers. In his ballad of "Tren the 
Fairy," Joyce happily alludes to such a practice. 

Francis Davis, " The Belfast Man," has recorded in his " Fairy 
Serenade " social customs of Sheogues in the eastern parts of Ulster. 
Having regard to the light-footed, ethereal dancing-groups of dwarfish 
beings, when delicately touching the green grass it is supposed they 
scarcely shake off these dew-drops during their wildest evolutions. 
Filled with a passionate eagerness for music and revelry, they in- 
dulge whole nights, without intermission or weariness, in their favourite 
exercises and recreations, lightly gliding in trails or circles through 
varied postures and figures. The fairies are generally represented as 
habited in green, or sometimes in white, silver spangled raiment, 
with high-peaked and wide-brimmed scarlet caps on their heads. By 
moonlight they are often seen under the shade of oak-trees, dancing 
on or around large globular fungi or umbrella-shaped mushrooms. 

In the south of Ireland, especially, every parish has its grassy-green 
and fairy thorn, where it is supposed these elves hold their meetings 
and dance their rounds. In Ulster, also, the hawthorn seems 
associated with fairy revels, as may be gleaned from a beautiful 
northern ballad of Samuel Ferguson, "The Fairy Thorn;' there a 
fairy host is introduced as issuing from every side around an en- 
chanted hawthorn. 

The Whitehaven coal-miners used to fancy they often found little 
mining tools and implements, belonging to a " swart fairy of the 
mine," in their dark subterranean chambers (Pennant's "Tour in 
Scotland," vol. ii., p. 49). The Germans, it appears, believed in two 
classes of gnomes the one species fierce and malevolent, the other 
gentle and harmless. These creatures appeared like little old men, 
about two feet in height, wandering through lodes and chambers of 
mines. Although apparently busily engaged in cutting ore, heaping 
it in vessels, and turning windlasses, they were in reality doing 
nothing. Except provoked, however, no harm occurred to the miners 
with whom they associated (Agricola, " De Animantibus Subter- 
raneis"). Rarely do we find our native fairies devoted to any 
industrial pursuits, except those lighter and occasional indoor occupa- 
tions which serve to engage and amuse the merry Irish maiden or 
thrifty housewife. 

It is only at a distance the fairies appear graceful in figure or 
handsome in countenance, but their costumes are always of rich 
material or fine texture. They frequently change their shapes ; 
they suddenly appear, and as suddenly vanish. These elves, on :i 

fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

near inspection, are generally found to be old, withered, bent, and 
having very ugly features, especially the men. Female fairies are 
endowed with characteristics of rare beauty in several instances ; 
and to such beings most marked attentions are always paid by the 
diminutive lords of their affections. 

Fairies are generally thought by the peasantry to partake of a 
mixed human and spiritual nature. Their bodies are presumed to 
be immaterial, or at least of some almost impalpable substance. 
They are animated with feelings of benevolence or resentment, ac- 
cording to circumstances. Although invisible to men, particularly 
during day, they hear and see all that takes place among mortals in 
which they have any especial concern. Hence the peasantry are 
always anxious to secure their good opinion and kind offices, and to 
propitiate or avert their anger by civil conversation and practices. 
Fairies are always mentioned with respect and reserve. It is also 
considered inhuman to strain potatoes or spill hot water on or over 
the threshold of a door, as thousands of spirits are supposed to con- 
gregate invisibly at such a spot, and to suffer from that infliction. 
Before drinking, a peasant would often spill a small portion of his 
draught on the ground as a complimentary libation to the " good 

The common people have formed some ill-defined belief that the 
fairies are like the fallen angels, driven out from bliss and condemned 
to wander on earth until the day of judgment. Campion, "The 
Kilkenny Man," has versified the fall of these elves from their 
previous high estate. The fairies are said to doubt regarding their 
own future; state, although they have hopes of being restored to 
happiness. An intermixture of good and evil balances their actions 
and motives, and their passions are often vindictive, as their inclina- 
tions are frequently humane and generous. They wage desperate 
battles with opposing bands, and they meet, like knights of old, 
armed cap-a-pie, for such encounters. The air bristles with their 
spears and flashing swords, and their helmets and red coats gleam 
in the bright sunshine during the progress of these engagements. 

No opinion was more prevalent among the peasantry than that 
of fairy abduction, practised by the elfin tribe. Young and lovely 
children were the special objects of desire ; and often when these 
had been snatched away from the parental home, old, emaciated, 
decrepit, and ugly fairies were left in their stead. These latter are 
called changelings. In the Scottish highlands, midwives were ac- 
customed to give a small spoonful of whisky, mixed with earth, to 
newly-born children as their first food ; this was no doubt intended 
as a preservative from some preternatural spell. Highland babes are 
carelully watched and guarded until after their christening is over, 
lest they should be abducted or changed for fairy deformities. The 
Irish peasant mother entertained similar fears for her newly born 

Irish Folk-lore. 

child, especially when it presented a very attractive appearance. But 
children alone were not the only persons subject to such species of 
forced exile. Mortal women, recently confined, were also abducted, 
to suckle the children conveyed to fairyland ; and in some cases 
they were required to nurse fairy-born infants. On this subject we 
have many popular tales and traditions current ; whilst our ancient 
or modern literature abounds with allusions to such incidents. 

Edward Walsh has written a beautiful ballad, "The Fairy Nurse," 
relating to a girl who had been led into the fairy fort of Lisroe, where 
she saw her little brother, who had died a week before, laid in a rich 
cradle, and rocked to sleep by a fairy woman. 

Our well-known writer, Dr. Anster, has composed a very agreeable 
ballad founded on this superstition ; but it is quite evident he has 
mistaken the popular traditions and opinions on this selected poetic 
subject, as would appear from the concluding stanzas : 

" Oh, it cannot be my own sweet boy, 
For his eyes are dim and hollow. 
My little boy is gone to God, 

And his mother soon will follow. 

" The dirge for the dead will be sung for me, 

And the mass be chaunted sweetly. 
And I will sleep with my littie boy 
In the moonlight churchyard meetly." 

The peasantry never supposed the abducted child was laid in 
mother earth when taken away from its former home ; but they 
imagined it lived in fairy realms, condemned, however, reluctantly to 
endure, if not enjoy, all the vicissitudes of a constrained exile from 
earth and heaven. In this state, when not returned to its parents 
once more, existence was prolonged to an indefinite period. 

[1865, Part II., pp. 417-426.] 

Sometimes, supposed changelings were removed from the peasants' 
cabin on a clean shovel, and were placed on the centre of a dung- 
hill ; parents meantime believing that their true children would be 
restored to them after a long absence. Certain prayers were muttered 
by the fairy-man or fairy-woman directing this strange operation. 
Some Irish verses were usually chanted during this process, of which 
the following may be deemed a correct translation : 

"Fairy men and women all, 
List ! it is your baby's call ; 
For on the dunghill's top he lies 
Beneath the wide inclement skies. 
Then come with coach and sumptuous train 
And take him to your mote again ; 
For if ye stay till cocks shall crow. 
You'll find him like a thing of snow; 

8 Fatty Beliefs, Etc. 

A pallid lump, a child of scorn, 
A monstrous brat, of fairies bom. 
But ere you bear the boy away, 

Restore the child you took instead ; 
When like a thief, the other day, 

Yon robbed my infant's cradle bed. 
Then give me back my only son, 
And I'll forgive the harm you've done ; 
And nightly for your sportive crew 
I'll sweep the hearth and kitchen too ; 
And leave you free your tricks to play, 
Whene'er you choose to pass this way. 
Then, like good people, do incline 
To take your child and give back mine." 

When such words had been recited, the assistants retired within an 
adjoining cottage, closing its door carefully and awaiting the issue, 
whilst some additional prayers were repeated. Any noise of the 
elements or of a passing vehicle was then supposed to have been 
caused by the approach and departure of a fairy host. Afterwards, 
the door being opened, these impostors confidently declared the true 
child had been replaced. This poor emaciated being was then 
brought into the cabin, and its deluded parents were told their child 
would not long survive. As such an event usually accorded with the 
prediction, it only confirmed a belief in the imposture, and added to 
the established reputation of that particular fairy-man or fairy-woman 
among the humbler classes. 

I have been told of a circumstance occurring one, too, in which 
the names of parties and places were mentioned regarding a respect- 
able farmer's family, on whom a changeling had been imposed, and 
in the following manner. A beautiful and healthy infant, sleeping 
with its mother, was thought to have been rudely snatched from her 
arms during the night : for, with the morning's dawn, a deformed and 
withered-looking old creature appeared instead. The child was doubt- 
less attacked with some paralytic disease, which thus had suddenly 
changed its appearance. However, the parents, with all their friends 
and neighbours, were persuaded the child had been carried off to 
fairy land, whilst a fairy had been left to supply its place. The poor 
mother found this weakling, whom she still continued suckling, waste 
away her own strength, and she seemed fast falling into decline. The 
child became remarkably peevish, would not look on " man nor 
mortial," and its piercing screams sounded so unearthly, that it was 
agreed on all sides the services of a fairy-woman would be required 
to recover the lost one. T'lis matter was arranged with the greatest 
secrecy, lest it should come to the knowledge of the poor deformed 
creature, whose flesh became completely shrivelled and whose limbs 
had shrunk to the most attenuated dimensions. With her usual 
exorcisms and charms, the fairy woman employed put the supposed 
changeling on a shovel, and afterwards left him on the dung-heap 

Irish Folk-lore. 

before the farm-house offices, whilst he offered every resistance pos- 
sible, and screamed with terrific cries. To the great delight of the 
mother and her friends, when going outside expecting the return of 
their lost darling, it lay on the same unsavoury dunghill -ruddy, 
plump, and smiling sweetly as of yore, the old man having altogether 
disappeared. So far as my recollection of this story serves me, the 
child lived some time afterwards, yet died before it had attained the 
age of reason. 

The Irish fairy-man or fairy-woman was supposed to hold some 
mysterious sort of communication with the denizens of moats or 
raths. In some cases it was rumoured that they hid been change- 
lings originally ; and as they usually lived a solitary and retired life, 
no ordinary share of mystery shrouded their motions. These impos- 
tors professed a familiar acquaintance with all secrets past, present, 
and future : the cure of most diseases affecting man and beasts ; the 
discovery and restoration of lost goods ; a description and detection 
of the thief if property had been stolen ; fortune-telling, and a know- 
ledge regarding all matters of personal concern ; causing cream to 
produce butter in greater abundance : whilst they often took care to 
impress on ignorant minds an opinion that their friendship would be 
desirable to prevent the certain evil effects of fairy resentment. Even 
in times very remote such influence was regarded as fatal to the indi- 
vidual against whom it had been exercised. Thus, for instance, 
Muirchertach Mac Earca is reported in our traditions and annals to 
have been drowned in a tub of wine, at the house called Cleteach, 
near Tara, on November Eve, A.D. 527. This action is said to have 
been effected through the agency of a fairy-woman. 

Camden tells us that when the Irishman of his day happened to 
fall, he sprang up again, and turned round three times to the right ; 
he then took a sword or knife, and dug the soil, taking up the turf, 
because it was thought the earth reflected his shadow to him. This 
strange action was owing to the belief in a spirit dwelling under the 
earth. If the man fell sick within two or three days afterwards, a 
woman skilled in those matters was sent to the spot, when she said, 
" I call thee, P., from the east, west, south, and north ; from the 
groves, woods, rivers, marshes; fairies red, white, red, black," etc. After 
uttering certain short prayers, she returned home to the sick person 
to discover if he were affecte<t with a sickness called the " Esane," 
which was supposed to be inflicted on him by the fairies. She 
whispered in his ear a short prayer, with the "Pater noster," and put 
some burning coals into a cup of clear water. We are told that she 
then formed a better judgment regarding the cause of this disorder 
than most physicians. (See Cough's " Camden," vol. iii., p. 668 ; 
edit. 1789.) 

Within the present century, one of these fairy-women, who was 
named Moll Anthony, lived near the Red Hills at the Chair of 

io Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

Kildare an antiquarian object of curiosity within the county bearing 
such a name. Her reputation as a possessor of supernatural know- 
ledge and divination drew crowds of distant visitors to her daily, and 
from the most remote parts of Ireland In various instances they 
were furnished with a bottle containing some supposed curative liquid, 
and directed to return homewards without falling asleep on their 
journey. This bottle was filled with water, darkly coloured by a 
decoction of herbs, gathered with certain incantations near a rath 
that afforded the customary materia medica of fairy-doctors for the 
cure of a special disease on which consultation was required. The 
most accomplished and skilful member of the medical faculty seldom 
received a more remunerative fee for his services on behalf of a 
patient than the wise woman of the Red Hills pocketed from her 
credulous dupes. At one time a young woman had been directed 
to return with the magic draught to her sick relative's house : she 
was especially cautioned to keep her eyes open along the way. Over- 
come with fatigue, however, and probably feverish with anxiety and 
excitement, the young person was obliged to rest by the roadside. 
Wearied nature soon began to claim her usual requirement of "balmy 
sleep." No sooner had the girl dozed off into dreamy unconscious- 
ness, than one of the ugliest beings imagination had ever created 
appeared to her disordered fancies ; and with wrinkled visage, the 
spectre seemed ready to clutch her in his extended arms. With a 
loud scream she bounded to her feet ; and through terror would 
doubtless have left the curative potion behind, had she not already 
taken the precaution of securing it within her bosom. The rude 
monitor of her obligation was supposed to have been a friend among 
the sheogues. I knew the person thus supposed to have been warned, 
and who in old age related this adventure. After the'death of Moll 
Anthony, her daughter followed the same profession, but never 
enjoyed a like celebrity. 

Sometimes the fairy-man, also called a "charmer," or "cow- 
doctor," undertakes to remove fairy influences from sick cattle, by 
some prepared herbs and strange nostrums performed at a spring- 
well. He will not allow any one to approach during the progress of 
his operations. In the west of Ireland, cows are often driven into 
certain springs or loughs, reputed holy, in order to restore the usual 
supply of dairy-milk and butter, supposed to have been supernaturally 
abstracted. Fresh butter is thrown into the water as a necessary part 
of the incantation. 

As an illustration of the fairy-man's professional pursuits, once only 
had I the opportunity afforded me of witnessing some mysterious 
quackery practised by a noted sheogue doctor called " Paddy the 
Dash," and sometimes " Paddy the Cow-doctor." This individual 
was thought to hold friendly communication with the "Good-people." 
His cabin adjoined one of their raths. Paddy received his cognomen 

Irish Folk-lore. \ i 

from a peculiar stammering or defect of articulation, that obliged him 
to jerk out his words at irregular intervals and with violent gesticula- 
tion. An old woman had fallen into a decline ; and the necro- 
mancer's process of treatment was considered desirable in this 
particular case. Having some knowledge of these circumstances, a 
group of young friends, with Paddy's grace especial, had been 
admitted to the patient's sick-chamber. Separated by a partition-wall 
from the principal apartment, this chamber served for all the other 
purposes of this poor family. We were but " wee-bit bodies" at the 
time ; and have only an indistinct recollection of Paddy drawing out 
of his cota more pocket a large black bottle with two or three packages 
of brown paper, containing dried herbs and a bunch of boughelawns, 
or boliauns, on which the fairies are said to ride occasionally through 
the air. The herbs and tops of the bougkelawns were put in a por- 
ringer filled with water that had been left simmering on the kitchen- 
fire ; afterwards followed some unaccountable flourishes over the 
sick woman, then some strokes on her back and forehead, with three 
shakes, " In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," when 
helped to an upright sitting posture by the female friends assisting. 
Holy water had, I think, been used during this sort of necromancy, 
and sprinkled on the sick person. The patient's face, hands and feet 
were finally bathed with the warm mixture contained in a porringer, 
before the more earnest-looking and bewildered attendants left her 
apartment. I well recollect, to Paddy's great displeasure, the junior 
portion of the spectators could scarcely restrain their hilarity at the 
oddity of his enunciations and his strange method of conducting the 

Herbs and plants, in raths or dells, are collected with various kinds 
of mummery, and used for charms and cures by " Bone-setters," or 
" Fairy-doctors." The herbs are considered specially impregnated 
by some mysterious fairy influence efficacious for the healing art. 
Sometimes " knowledgeable old women," as they are termed by our 
peasantry, venture on the exercise of charms, without exciting any 
great degree of confidence in a fortunate result, either in their own 
or in the minds of others. An herb, or a bit of burnt sod, taken 
from the bonfire of St. John's night, in Midsummer, is often sewed 
up in the clothes of women ; this serves as a charm against 'fairy plots 
and abduction. 

Changelings are known to have an inclination for certain grotesque 
pranks. The fairy child often procures and yokes a set of bag-pipes 
on his arms. He sits up in the cradle, and performs a variety of fine 
airs with great hilarity and many strange grimaces. When he plays 
lively jigs, reels, and hornpipes, inmates of the cottage are often set 
insanely dancing, and greatly against their inclination : this sort of 
forced exercise usually continues until they are ready to sink with 
fatigue. Notwithstanding all his hilarious whims and oddities, the 

Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

changeling was always regarded as an unwelcome family intruder. 
Sometimes a fairy-child was thrown across the hearth-fire to eject 
him. He then vanished up the open chimney, with expressions of 
vengeance, curses, and all manner of ill names, directed against the 
family that had so long and unwillingly harboured him. Children, 
however, are not the solely abducted denizens of raths. The fairies 
take a fancy to the instrumentation of accomplished pipers, or other 
famous musicians, who are abducted to subterranean or subaqueous 
habitations These sons of melody are kept engaged in furnishing 
music to finely dressed little gentlemen and ladies, until almost dead 
with fatigue, although refreshments are liberally dispensed by these 
sprites. The musician generally finds himself ejected from fairy 
realms before morning. Sometimes he is invited to remain with his 
entertainers, hut he usually prefers returning to the land of the living. 
His fairy hosts often take away the old pipes or instrument, bestowing 
a much more perfect and sweeter-toned one in its stead. The repu- 
tation of having been abducted to elfin-land, and thus rewarded, is 
sure to establish or extend the musician's practice and resources. 

Midwives are taken away to the fairy-raths on pillions, with fairy- 
horsemen conducting them to their invisible abodes. If these women 
partake of any food or drink, to which they are pressinglv invited, as 
well by persuasion as by the luxurious repasts prepared, a spell of 
detention is placed on them; they cannot return again to their homes. 
Elves are less liberal in bestowing gold or silver as a reward ; and 
such bounty when offered is found to be illusive. We are told that 
money obtained from fairies usually turns into round slates, dry leaves, 
old bones, or something equally worthless. 

Ointment obtained by midwives to anoint fairy children, if rubbed 
to the eye of mortal, will enable such person to see the prosaic 
skeleton of fairy illusions in underground halls and palaces. Old 
friends and neighbours are often discovered amongst the sheoges \sic\ 
in this manner. Fairies during their revels also become visible to the 
eye thus anointed. If a mortal makes any sign of recognition or 
exclamation, one of the sprites may ask, " Do you see me ?" When 
answered in the affirmative, he asks, " With which eye ?" When 
rightly informed, the fairy thrusts a finger or sometimes puffs his 
breath into that eye, and thus blinds the incautious person. 

Amongst myths of Irish fable may be included the following. A 
superstition prevailed amongst the peasantry that certain people are 
born with an evil eye, through some mysterious and magic influence. 
It is supposed that the possessor has power to injure those on whom 
a glance may be directed. The victims of this baneful influence 
usually pine away and die, if no counteracting charm be provided to 
remove this threatened danger. Thus, in olden times, Balor the 
Dane, who lived on Tory Island, is said to have blasted the bleak 
islands of Scotland with his "evil eye." Rather than meet an evil eye, 

Irish Folk-lore. 13 

people were accustomed to turn back or diverge from the course of 
their journey, and especially to avoid the habitation of its possessor. 
It appears such a superstition prevailed amongst the Greeks in the 
time of St. Chrysostom, who tells us that, in order to divert the evil 
eye, some persons wrote on their hands the names of several rivers, 
whilst others used salt, tallow, and ashes for a like purpose. We are 
also assured that the modern Greeks employ a combination of garlic, 
cloves, talismans, and other charms, which are hung around the necks 
of their infants to effect the same object. Alluding to this evil-eye 
superstition in the West of Ireland, Lady Morgan, in her interesting 
novel, " The Wild Irish Girl," erroneously supposed that the priests 
suspend a gospel, which she calls a consecrated charm, around the 
necks of children, to frustrate its dangerous effects. The gospel is 
not usually so placed by any priest, neither is it consecrated nor 
used for such a purpose. In Turkey nnd in Kgypt, ignorant mothers 
use talismans to prevent all injurious effects from the evil eye of some 
envious person, who is supposed to have bewitched their emaciated 
or diseased children. In certain parts of Hindostan, likewise, the 
women are especially desirous to touch the garments of a widow 
about to devote herself to death on the funeral pyre of her deceased 
husband. They consider this act as sufficient protection from the 
evil eye, and one in its own nature highly meritorious. 

A circle made round a place with holy water will, it is thought, 
ward off fairy intrusion. This practice is often adopted by persons 
who wish to dig for money about a rath, or by those who take their 
stand within it, at a certain pass, to draw any spell-bound friend 
from a state of durance. Fairy women point out the person thus 
detained by some token or peculiarity of dress, indicated to the 
living relative when the fairy troop sweeps pa^t this spot. If you 
meet the fairies, it is said, on All Hallows Kve, and throw the dust 
taken from under your feet at them, they will be obliged to surrender 
any captive human being belonging to their company. A sudden 
whisk of wind rustling near the face is supposed to indicate the near 
passage of elves, and proximate danger to the person, even when 
escaping the effects of a fairy stroke. 

The flint arrow-heads, of which so many have been collected in 
different parts of Ireland, and preserved in our antiquarian museums, 
are supposed by the commonalty to have been shot at cattle, which 
are objects of aversion to the fairies. This is one of their peculiar 
sports. The flints are popularly called "elf arrows," despite the 
different nomenclature and theory of our roost distinguished anti- 
quaries. What the peasants call an " elf arrow " was frequently set 
in silver, and worn about the neck. It was used as an amulet to 
preserve the person from an elf shot (Vallancey's " Collectanea de 
Rebus Hibernicus," No. xiii.). Small and oddly shaped smoking 
instruments sometimes found, and termed " Dane's pipes," are 

1 4 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

thought to have been dropped by the " good people " in a variety of 
instances. Shoes are also lost on their travels. It is thought to be 
very lucky to find a fairy's shoe of tiny shape and mould, and to 
keep it concealed from the eye of mortal. If seen by a third person 
the luck vanishes. Many other antique objects are supposed by 
rustics to have been forgotten by the " wee people." These articles 
are unfortunately often destroyed to avert the dreaded consequences 
of retaining property that might afterwards be discovered or claimed 
by their supposed previous owners. 

Stranye creations of fancy have an imaginary existence. The 
Merrow, or as it is written in Irish MoruadH, or Moruach, is a sort 
of fantastic sea-nymph, corresponding with the prevailing conception 
of the mermaid, which is supposed to partake of the nature and lorni 
of a human being from the hrad to the waist, and thence to the 
extremities covered with greenish-coloured scales, having the ap- 
pearance of a fish. These creatures are said to partake of a modest, 
affectionate, gentle, and beneficent disposition. The word appears 
a compound of muir, " the sea," and oigh, " a maid." These marine 
objects of the imagination are also called by the Irish Muir-gheilt, 
Samhghubha, Murdhuchdn, and Suire. They would seem to have 
basked around our shores from a remote period ; for, according to 
bardic chroniclers, when the Milesian ships bore onwards in quest of 
a friendly harbour to our coasts, the Suire, or sea-nymphs, played 
around them on their passage. The Merrow was capable of attach- 
ment to human beings and is reported to have intermarried and 
lived with them for years in succession. Some allegory is probably 
concealed under the fiction of certain families on the coast of Ire- 
land being partly descended from these marine creatures. Natural 
instincts are, however, found to prevail over love. The Merrow usually 
feels desirous of returning to her former companions under the sea 
waves. She is represented as the daughter of a king, whose gorgeous 
palace lies deep beneath the ocean. Sometimes the mermaidens live 
under our Irish lakes. 

Mermaidens are said to allure youths of mortal mould to follow 
them beneath the waves, where they afterwards live in some en- 
chanted state. The Merrows wear a cohuleen tiruith, or " little 
charmed cap," used for diving beneath the water. If this be lost or 
stolen they have no power to return beneath " the waters of the 
vasty deep." The Merrow has soft white webs beneath her fingers. 
She is often seen with a comb, parting her long green hair on either 
side of the head. S- range to say, the Merrow is sometimes a water- 
man, and in this case deformed. The female Merrow is represented 
as beautiful in features. Merrow-men are said to keep the souls of 
drowned fishermen and sailors under cages at the bottom of the sea. 
Merrow music is sometimes heard, coming up from the lowest depths 
of ocean, and sometimes floating over the surface. An old tract con- 

Irish Folk-lore. 15 

tained in the "Book of Lecain," states that a king of the Formorians, 
when sailing over the Ictian sea, was seduced by the music of mer- 
maids, until he came within reach of these syrens. They tore his 
limbs asunder, and scattered them on the waves. From O'Donovan's 
"Annals of the Four Masters," vol. i., A.D. 887, we take this curious 
entry : " A mermaid was cast ashore by the sea in the country of 
Alba. One hundred and ninety-five feet was her length, eighteen 
feet was the length of her hair, seven feet was the length of the 
ringers of her hand, seven feet also was the length of her nose ; she 
was whiter than the swan all over." Hence it would seem that the 
Merrows were thought to have attained extraordinary large propor- 
tions ; if, indeed, this be not the actual record of a fact illustrating 
the natural history of our coasts. 

In Miss Brooke's " Reliques of Irish Poetry " (published in Dublin 
by Bonham, 1789, 410.) the valour of the Finian heroes is celebrated 
on behalf of a mariner lady, in the poem of Moira Borb. The 
chiefs met her coming into a harbour from the waves, over which 
her bark swiftly glided. Her beauty was faultless, and on being ques- 
tioned as to her parentage by the son of Combal, she replies : 

" Truth, O great chief ! my artless story frames ; 
A mighty king my filial duty claims. 
But princely birth no safety could bestow ; 
And, royal as I am, I flee from woe." 

Miss Brooke tells us in a note that she has not rendered this 
stanza literally, as she found it difficult to interpret the Irish words, 
as me ingean rig fa tulnn. They may be translated, " I am the 
daughter of the king under waves." Or the last words may be ren- 
dered " king of waves," or " king of ton " (in the genitive tuin), 
literally "a wave;" but it may also mean some country anciently 
bearing that name. It may even be a metaphorical phrase, implying 
either an island or some of the low countries. 

The Banshee, or " white woman," is sometimes called the Shet 
Frogh, or " house fairy." She is represented as a small, shrivelled 
old woman, with long white hair. In one of Edward Walsh's trans- 
lated Irish songs, 

"The Banshee bright, of form Elysian," 

is represented as a most beautiful woman ; but she may probably be 
regarded as the fairy queen, for in a vision she leads the imaginative 
Irish bard, John McDonnell, through all the principal elfin haunts of 
Ireland. In Brittany there is a female fairy sprite, called the Corri- 
gaun, who is thought to have been formerly a Druidess, and who is 
said to hate the sight of a priest or holy water. She sometimes falls 
in love with mortals, and carries off healthy children, replacing them 
by changelings. From one of the five legends related in Taylor's 
"Ballads and Songs of Brittany" (published by Macmillan and Co., 

1 6 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

London, and translated from the Barsaz Breiz of Vicompte Hersart 
de la Villemarque'), the following picture of this sprite is presented. 
The incident recorded bears some affinity to the personal habits of 
the Irish banshee: 

" The Corrigaun sat by the fountain fair 
A-combing her long and yellow hair." 

In some instances the banshee is believed to have been the ghost 
of some person who had formerly suffered violence from a progenitor 
of the family, and who repeats her vengeful wail from a particular 
spot, to announce approaching death to his descendants. Whether 
a friend or an enemy of the family to which her warning has been 
conveyed seems undefined and uncertain. Her cry often comes from 
a spring, river, or lake, with which her name is connected. In the 
traditions of the Scottish Highlands there is mention often made of 
the Bodach G/as, or avenging "grey spectre." It was supposed to 
appear on the eve of some great impending calamity to the descen- 
dants of that chief, who had been guilty in taking trie life of a fellow- 

A beautiful and affecting tale, " The Banshee," occurs in " The 
Legends of Connaught" (published by John Gumming, Dublin, 
1839, 8vo.), where a living creature and a maniac had been thought- 
lessly fired upon and killed by a soldier, under the impression that 
she had been a supernatural being of the Banshee specie*. In this 
particular instance, it does not appear that the characteristic figure 
and voice of the Banshee had been discovered, as Crofton Croker's 
lines would seem to indicate their unmistakable identity: 

" 'Twas the banshee's lonely wailing ; 

Well I knew the voice of rleath, 
On the night wind slowly sailing 
O'er the bleak and gloomy heath." 

[1865, Pt. II., pp. 564-576-] 

The Fetch a well-known Irish superstition claims some affinity 
with the Highlander's "second sight." The Fetch is supposed to 
be a mere shadow, resembling in stature, features, and dress a living 
person, and often mysteriously or suddenly seen by a very particular 
friend. If it appears in the morning, a happy longevity for the 
original is confidently predicted ; but if it be seen in the evening, 
immediate dissolution of the living prototype is anticipated. Spirit- 
like, it flits before the sight, seeming to walk leisurely through the 
fields, often disappearing through a gap or lane. The person it re- 
sembles is usually known at the time to be labouring under some 
mortal illness, and unable to leave his or her bed. When the Fetch 
appears agitated, or eccentric in its motions, a violent or painful 
death is indicated for the doomed prototype. The Phantom is also 
said to make its appearance at Ihe same time, and in the same place, 

Irish Folk lore. \ 7 

to more than one person, as I have heard related in a particular instance. 
What the Irish call "Fetches," the English designate "Doubles." 
It is supposed, likewise, that individuals may behold their own 
Fetches. The Irish novelist and poet, John Banim, has written both 
a novel and a ballad on this subject. Somewhat analagous to the 
Highland seer's gift of second sight, especially in reference to ap- 
proaching doom, Aubrey tells us that a well-known poet, the Earl of 
Roscommon, who was born in Ireland 1633, had some preternatural 
knowledge of his father's death whilst residing at Caen in Normandy. 
Such forebodings were recognised by the early Northmen, and it is 
probable their origin amongst the people of these islands had been 
derived from a Scandinavian source. They were oftentimes invested 
with circumstances of peculiar horror, according to Northern tradi- 
tions, which were also transferred to the Hebride islanders. These 
latter adopted a strange admixture of superstition from their former 
independent ancestors and the invading pirate hordes that colonized 
their exposed and defenceless shores. The second sight, or peculiar 
divination of the Highlanders, is aptly pourtrayed by Collins in his 
beautiful ode on Scotland's popular superstitions. 

Another master of English verse, the poet Gray, has rendered his 
ode of " The Fatal Sisters " from a Norse composition, having re- 
ference to the battle of Clontarf. On the day of this battle Good 
Friday, and not Christmas Day, as stated by the poet a native of 
Caithness, in Scotland, saw a number of persons on horseback, and 
at a distance. They were riding full-speed towards a hill, which they 
seemed to enter. Curiosity led him to follow them, when he saw 
twelve gigantic female figures all employed in weaving. This ode 
in question was sung by them at the same time. Having finished 
it, their web was torn in twelve pieces. Six of the fatal sisters galloped 
on black steeds to the north, and as many to the south. Each took 
her own portion of the web. These were known as Valkyriur, or 
female divinities, the servants of Odin, or Woden, the Gothic god 
of war. They are said to choose the slain on the field of battle, 
whilst mounted on their steeds, and with drawn swords in their 
hands, over the heads of the combatants. After the battle, departed 
heroes were conducted by them to Valhalla, the hall of Odin, or 
paradise of the brave. Here these sisters served them with horns of 
mead and ale. 

The Phooka is supposed to appear in the shape of a dusky and 
large animal, resembling a horse or a pony. Sometimes it is seen 
like a monstrous bull with eyes and nostrils gleaming fire. It has 
also been mentally conceived under the shape of a large eagle, or 
rather like the great-winged Roc, which carried Sinbad the sailor on 
his airy course. The Phooka's appearance is especially to be looked 
for on All Hallow's Eve. Woe betide the mortal who ventures 
abroad after dusk, and in lonely places, at that particular time ! The 

VOL. iv. 2 

1 8 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

Phooka usually steals in a noiseless manner from behind, and if he 
once succeeds by inserting the head between a mortal's legs, the 
unhappy individual is at once whisked off his feet, to find himself 
astride on the hobgoblin's back. Then up to the moon he ascends, 
or he descends, perhaps, to the bottom of the lake, or he flies over 
the ocean; jumping from the highest precipices to the lowest depths; 
crossing mountains, streams, and glens ; and frequently traversing 
realms of space to the most remote countries of the world. This is 
accomplished in the course of a single night, and to the rider's extreme 
discomfort. The Phooka is sometimes called the Gruagach (or 
" hairy spirit "). Its mischievous pranks are well illustrated in "The 
fairy Rath of Lough Innin " a metrical composition of Alexander 
Henry; as also in the very beautiful poem, "Alice and Una," by 
Denis Florence MacCarthy. Several localities in Ireland appear to 
have received their nomenclature from some supposed connection 
with this much dreaded monster. In the county of Cork there are 
two castles at places called Carrig Phooka, or the Phooka's Rock. 
One of these adjoins Doneraile, and the other lies near Macroom. 
The celebrated waterfall of Ponla Phooka, or the "Phooka's Cavern," 
in the county of Wicklow, must have had some connections in tradi- 
tion with the sprite so well known in Irish fairy mythology. There 
is also a noted landmark, or cairn, and a natural cave, at a place 
called Clopoke, in the Queen's County. I find that one of the topo- 
graphical staff engaged on the Irish Ordnance Survey renders the 
name of this townland by Clock a Phuca, the "Stone of the Phooka." 

The bog-sprite appears in the shape of a distant light which often 
presents objects distorted and misplaced to the traveller's gaze, until 
he is led into a swamp or pool of water, when he sinks and is lost. 
The Hanoverian "Tuckbold," and the English " Will-o'-the-Wisp," 
partake of the same ignis fatuiis description. In England this object 
is called "Elf-fire." In Collins' "Ode on the Popular Superstitions 
of the Highlands of Scotland," he alludes to this glinting phantom 
of the moors. It is supposed that this Jack-o'Lantern, as he is often 
called, lures the mortal into a muddy hollow, where the water will 
rise around him on every side, precluding all chance of escape. 
The perturbed motions of this departed mortal are further described 
by Collins. 

The Ltnauntshee is an Irish sprite, implacable in resentment, and 
unalterable in friendship. Mr. O'Daly has rendered the Irish word 
Leanans/iee "a familiar sprite," in an interesting collection of "Irish 
Songs," published at Kilkenny in 1843. When a peasant may find 
himself overmatched in a party or faction fight, and yet maintain the 
struggle against considerable odds, it is supposed the Lenauntshee 
affords invisible aid, and deals out blows for him with scientific 

Denis Florence MacCarthy has poetically idealized the Lianhann 

Irish Folk-Lire. 19 

Shee as a superior and an intellectual spirit, addressing other guardian 
spirits who may be considered as presiding over the ordinary duties 
and enjoyments of life. His poem appears in the October number 
of the Dublin University Magazine for 1851. This spirit is supposed 
to form a particular attachment for men, to whom it appears in the 
shape of a young and beautiful female. Whoever falls under the 
spells of this fairy cannot marry; for although invisible to a third 
party, she has a strong fascination for the person to whom she 
becomes attached, and she will not leave his presence for several 
years. As the mortal reciprocates this affection, she instructs and 
rewards him by communicating a knowledge of music, the art of 
healing, fairy mysteries, and various other accomplishments. Mr. 
Carleton has made this spirit the subject of a popular Irish story. 

There is an island said to be far out on the verge of the Atlantic's 
horizon, beyond the groups of the Arran Islands, and commonly hi<l 
from mortal sight. The story runs that a peasant, attracted by its 
tempting appearance, 

" In the breeze cf the Orient, loosened his sail," 

but on directing his course westwards, this island seemed to recede 
as he advanced, until a rising tempest submerged his bark, when 

"Night fell on the deep, amidst tempest and spray, 
And he died on the waters, away, far away." 

(See "Gerald Griffin's Works," vol. viii., pp. 210, 211.) 

It is very probable a belief in the existence of this fabled 
island comes down from a very remote period, and gave rise to the 
traditionary transatlantic voyage of St. Brendan of Clonfert, called 
also the Navigator. This holy and adventurous man is said to 
have passed seven Easters away from Ireland, having landed on a 
distant island. The adventures of this monastic navigator and his 
companions have been most exquisitely described in Denis Florence 
MacCarthy's "Voyage of St. Brendan." There is yet extant, in 
the Royal Irish Academy, a very curious folio vellum MS. on 
medical subjects, in Latin and Irish. When purchased many years 
ago in the west of Ireland, it was traditionally believed that one 
Morough O'Ley, a resident of Connemara, sometime in the seven- 
teenth century, having been transported by supernatural means to 
the enchanted island of O'Brasil, there received a full knowledge of 
all diseases and their cure, together with this MS. to direct him 
in medical practice. The O'Leys, or O'Lees, were for a long 
time physicians to the O'Flaherties, and did not fail to increase 
their hereditary and professional ability by the acquisition of this 

In a very rare publication called "The Ulster Miscellany," printed 
in 1 753, there is an ingenious satire, entitled "A Voyage to O'Brazce'-, 

2 2 

2O Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

a sub-marine Island, lying West off the Coast of Ireland." It is 
doubtless modelled on the design of Dean Swift's voyages to Lilliput 
and Brobdignag. The mode of descent to O'Brazeel is represented 
as very peculiar. The island itself is described as flecked with 
mellowed, well-distributed light ; covered with beautiful landscapes ; 
providing corn, fruit, trees, grass, and flowers; abounding in streams, 
fountains, flocks, and herds, fertile fields and pastures ; with a happy 
state of society, religion, and government. The Firbolgs and For- 
morian colonists of Ireland, for the most part sea-faring men, are 
thought to have placed their Elysium in the ocean. It went by the 
various names of / Breasail ("the Island of Breasal"); Oilcan na 
m-Beo ("the Island of the Living"); / na Beatha ("the Island of 
Life"). The Firbolgs are also supposed to have had their residence 
under the waters of our lakes. A different account is given regard- 
ing other races and classes inhabiting Ireland. The Tuatha de 
Danans and the Druids are said to have held their seminaries in 
caves and secluded subterranean abodes. Hence their Elysium was 
naturally situated under the earth. In Southey's poem of " Madoc," 
first part, xi., allusion is made to certain Green Islands over the 
Western Ocean, whither " the sons of Gavran " and " Merlin with 
his band of Bards " sailed. Thence they were not known to have 

Flath-innis, otherwise known as the Noble Island, is said by 
Macpherson to lie in the Western Ocean, but surrounded by 
tempests. Within the island, every prospect denotes the paradise 
of the virtuous sons of Druids, who enjoy pleasures of their own, 
but are excluded from the Christian's heaven. Certain practised in- 
cantations cause this fabled land to appear. Departed persons, in 
the midst of their peculiar happy state, were warmly attached to 
their former country and living friends. Among the ancient Celts, 
females were said to have passed to the Fortunate Islands. This 
enchanted country, called Hy-Breasil, or O'Brazil, signified the 
Royal Island, according to General Vallancey's interpretation. It is 
said to have been the paradise of the pagan Irish. 

There are certain localities inlreland where fatfargorthac, or hungry- 
grass, grows. This is supposed to be enchanted. It causes people, 
when crossing over it, to take sudden weaknesses, especially after a 
long journey. The fit of hunger coming on them is sometimes so 
excessive that they find themselves unable to pass these particular 
spots. If relief be not afforded by some companion or casual 
passenger, death immediately ensues under such circumstances. 
When recovering from the weakness, people often fall into a poor 
state of health. A bit of oaten cake is thought to be the best anti- 
dote for the hungry-grass affection. In Ireland, Grose relates that the 
fairies frequently left bannocks, or oaten-cakes, in the way of travellers. 
If the latter did not partake of this food, something of an unlucky 

Irish Folk-lore. 2 1 

nature was likely to happen to them. Maxwell, in his humorous 
sketches, "Wild Sports of the West," alludes to the faragurtha, or 
" hungry-disease," which is attributed to various causes. Some are 
of opinion that it is attributable to fairy influences ; others affirm it is 
contracted by passing a spot where a corpse has lain ; and many assert 
it is owing to the traveller putting his foot on some poisonous plant 

The Dublin University Magazine for April, 1856, contains a tale 
by William Carleton, called "Fair Gurtha, or the Hungry-Grass." 
This superstition is supposed to have nothing analogous to it in other 
countries. It is said that when an al fresco meal is partaken of on 
a certain spot, if the fragments be not thrown to the fairies, a crop of 
hungry-grass will grow there ; and whoever passes over it, must fall 
into such a weak state that death will ensue if he be not relieved. 
A certain spectre, only skin and bone, and miserably clad, is thought 
to winder through Ireland, at particular seasons in the shape of a 
travelling mendicant. He is called Fear Gurtha, or the Man of 
Hunger; and whoever gives him relief will enjoy unfailing prosperity, 
even during the worse periods of famine and death, which are sure 
to follow immediately after his appearance. The uncharitable will be 
found amongst the most miserable sufferers, on the approach of such 
wide-spread national calamities. 

Subaqueous cities are supposed to lie under the surface of nearly 
all Irish lakes. This belief was probably originated from frequently 
recurring optical deceptions, owing to the shadows of overhanging 
mountains and clouds being fantastically reflected from the unruffled 
surface of the loughs. Most of the Irish lakes are said to have 
sprung from magic wells, that bubbled up at certain times, until they 
filled the basins of the valleys. On this subject there is a ballad, by 
W. M. Downes, referring to the origin of Killarney. 

Among the O'Longan MSS., belonging to the Royal Irish Academy, 
there is a copy of a tract, usually entitled Saltair na Muic (see 
O'Curry's Catalogue, vol. ii., p. 483), "The Saltar, or Psaltar of the 
Pig." This contains a legend regarding Caon Comrac, an ancient 
Bishop of Clonmacnoise. and mentions an enchanted or a miraculous 
monastery and people, buried under the surface of Lough Ree in the 
river Shannon. With almost every lake throughout Ireland some 
remarkable and highly poetic legend is connected. 

Certain places and personages are named in Irish popular tradi- 
tions, and have even found a record in our native literature. These 
have reference to celebrated mythic chiefs or females and fairy haunts. 
There is a very curious tract in the " Book of Lecan " which throws 
much traditional light on the origin of fairy hills, fairy chiefs, and 
fairyism in Ireland. Also in the " Book of Lismore " we find a list 
of all the Irish fairy chiefs. Both these MSS., valuable for many 
historic tracts therein contained, are preserved in the library of the 
Royal Irish Academy. 

22 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

Manahan is a fabled king of fairyland, and the ruler of a happy 
kingdom. With his fair daughters Aine and Aeife he sails often 
round the headlands of Inishowen. Among some of our fine romantic 
legends, we are told that whilst Bran MacFearbhall, a king of Ire- 
land, was one day alone and near his palace, he heard the most 
ravishing strain of fairy music, which at last lulled him to sleep. On 
awaking he found the silver branch of a tree by his side. This he 
brought to the lords and ladies of his court. Among them appeared 
a strange lady, who invited the monarch to a fairyland of happiness. 
The silver branch then passed from his hand into this lady's, and on 
the following morning, with a company of thirty persons, he sailed 
out on the ocean. After a voyage of a few days he landed on an 
island inhabited only by women, of whom this strange lady appeared 
to be the chieftainess. Here he remained several ages before return- 
ing to his own palace, near Lough Foyle. Among the females of an 
ideal world, we find Sidheng was a fairy damsel, who is said to have 
presented Finn MacCool with a battle-stone, to which a chain of 
gold was attached. With this weapon he was rendered invincible 
against his enemies on the field. Ounaheencha, a fairy queen of the 
ocean, was accustomed to sail round the coasts of Clare and Kerry, 
in quest of handsome young men, who were captured and conducted 
to her cave. 

Krigh Leith was anciently a famous fairy mount in Westmeath. 
In Irish legendary tales we have also an account of a fairy chief from 
Siabh Fuaid, who was accustomed to set all the company at Tara 
asleep by the sweetness of his music during the annual assemblies. 
He then set fire to the palace. This chief, named Aillen MacMidhna, 
was afterwards killed by Finn MacCumhal. 

Bodb was a fairy potentate who, with his daughters, lived within 
Sidh-ar-Femhin, a hill or fairy mansion on the plain of Cashel. To 
this subterranean residence a famous old harper named Cliach is 
said to have obtained access by playing his harp near the spot, until 
the ground opened and admitted him to the fairy realm. Every 
seventh May morning, lor, a fairy chief, steered his bark through 
Loch Cluthair. And the fairy fleet of the south was often seen by 
fishermen sailing round the Fastnet Rock and Carrigeen a Dhoolig. 
In Irish traditions we find Fiachna MacRastach and Eochaidh 
MacSal mentioned as rival chiefs among the Sidhe, or fairy men. 
Ilbhreac was the fairy chief of Eas Roc, now Ballyshannon. There 
was a celebrated Sidhe mansion at this place. In a rath on the road- 
side between Cork and Youghall it is believed that a fairy chieftain 
named Knop holds his court. Sometimes music and merriment are 
heard from within this fort, and travellers often observe strange lights 
around it. 

The White Shee, or "/airy queen," has a recognised pre-eminence 
over others of her sex. Cleena, the fairy queen of South Munster, 

Irish Folk-lore. 23 

is said to reside within her invisible palace at Carrig Cleena, near 
Fermoy, co. Cork. There is a Cliodhna, written in Irish Tonn 
Chliodna, or " The Wave of Cleena." This latter designation is applied 
to the loud roaring surges in the harbour of Glandore, in a southern 
part of this same county. There are sea-worn caverns, hollowed out 
of the rocks on this coast, from which the waves loudly resound, with 
a deep monotonous roar. In the calm of night these moaning surges 
are most impressive, producing sensations of fear or melancholy. 
There is extant an Irish poem on the derivation of Tonn Clidhna, 
or " Clidhna's Wave," off the Cork coast. Allusion is made to the 
Fairy Queen of Munster by Edward Walsh, in his ballad entitled 
" O' Donovan's Daughter." 

There is a king of fairies in Munster called Donn Firineach, or 
" Donn the Truth-Teller," or Truthful, who is said to live in the 
romantic hill of Cnockfirinn, co. Limerick. Donn, in Irish, has the 
English signification of "dun," or " brown-coloured." He is said 
originally to have been one of the sons of the celebrated Milesius, 
who came from Spain to colonize Ireland. This Donn is thought to 
have been shipwrecked, with all his mariners, on the coast of Munster. 
Among the old " Irish popular songs," so faithfully and expressively 
rendered into English metre by Edward Walsh (published by 
McGlashan, 21, D'Olier Street, Dublin, 1847) we find the Duan na 
Saoirse, or " Song of Freedom," by the anonymous author, the Man- 
gaire Sugach. In this, Donn is personified and introduced as requir- 
ing the bard to proclaim that the hour had arrived for making a bold 
effort to restore the Stuart dynasty. 

Our most remarkable dells are reputed the favourite haunts of 
fairies, and these are often denominated the "gentle places." Fairies 
are also partial to the " banks and braes " of purling rivulets. The 
fairies often perch like cocks and hens on the couples of Irish cabins, 
to enjoy the clamour and diversion at marriage feasts, christenings, 
or other merry meetings. Old cairns are also held to be sacred to 
the " good people," and it would be considered unlucky to remove 
these remnants of antiquities, for that very reason. 

The fairies are often heard and seen hunting, with sound ot 
horns, -y of dogs, tramp of horses, cracking of whips and " tally- 
ho " of huntsmen. Rushes and bouliauns often turn to horses when 
the fairies get astride on them, as they usually do when about to 
migrate in a body or troupe, from one place to another. Over 
hedges and ditches, walls and fences, brakes and briers, hills and 
valleys, lakes and rivers they sweep with incredible velocity and 
airy lightness. Allingham alludes in one of his ballads to these fairy 

During moonlight the fairies are often seen by mortals flitting in 
shadowy troops, between the eye and the mildly beaming nightly orb. 
They are especially fond of revelling at midnight. Wild strains of 

24 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

unearthly music are heard at this time by an ingle nook, lonely rath, 
green hillside, or tangled wood. 

Ancient and solitary hawthorns, generally called " monument 
bushes," are held in great veneration by the commonalty, and it 
would be considered profanation to destroy them, or even to remove 
any of their branches. The fairies frequent the site of these bushes, 
and are often seen flitting amongst their branches. Unbaptized chil- 
dren and abortions are generally buried under "monument bushes;"' 
and probably, owing to this circumstance, such names have been 
given them. It is also remarkable that when interments of this kind 
take place in consecrated churches in Ireland the graves are always 
dug on the north side of the cemetery, apart from those deceased 
persons who have been baptized. " Monument bushes " are found, 
for the most part, in the centre of road-crossings. They are some- 
times seen by the roadside, but detached from adjoining fences. 
Often grouped together in gnarled and fantastic shapes, they present 
a picturesque and beautiful view to the passenger, especially when 
flowered over with hawthorn blossoms. Ghosts were occasionally 
conjured up before the excited imagination of the credulous or timid 
when passing those objects by night. 

Certain writers on Irish superstitions represent unbaptized children 
as sitting blindfolded within fairy moats, the peasantry supposing 
such souls "go into nought." An idea somewhat similar may be 
found in the beautiful metrical tale of " Evangeline," by Longfellow 
where we have introduced, among the Contes of an Arcadian village 
notary, allusion to 

"The white Utiche, the ghost of a child who unchristened 
Died, and was doomed to haunt unseen the chambers of children." 

(Parti., iii.) 

I am convinced, however, that this belief can by no means be general, 
even amongst the most unenlightened of our peasantry. All of those 
with whom I have at any time conversed on this subject believe that 
unbaptized infants suffer " the pain of loss," in accordance with the 
doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church. In other words, such 
persons are regarded as deprived of God's beatific vision, although 
not subject to the more extreme sufferings of those who have lost the 
grace of baptismal innocence. 

The following memorial custom in reference to the dead appears 
to have come down from a remote period : when a person has been 
murdered, or has died by a sudden death on the roadside, our 
peasantry when passing carry a stone, which they throw on that spot 
where the dead body was found, as a mark of respect. An accumu- 
lation of stones thus heaped together soon forms a pretty considerable 
pile. The hat is also taken off by those passing by, and a prayer 
is, usually offered for the repose of the departed JVi curfated me 
leach an der Cairne : " I would not even throw a stone on your grave," 

Irish Folk-lore. 25 

is an expression used by the Irish peasantry to denote bitter enmity 
towards any person thus addressed. 

[1865, Part If., pp. 697-707.] 

To the early Druids many of our later Irish writers have attributed 
a knowledge of the use of charms, magic, necromancy, enchantments, 
and the black art We may find a variety of accounts regarding 
Druids and Druidism, in the late Professor O'Curry's copy of the 
" Book of Lismore " (see vol. ii., p. 558, of this learned Irish scholar's 
Catalogue of Irish MSS. contained in the Royal Irish Academy). 
And in the national depository, which contains a copy of the same 
MS., we may discover a paper treating on the offices, laws, privileges, 
and social habits of the Druids. (This was written by the late Ed- 
ward O'Reilly, and is dated Harold's Cross, Feb. 4, 1824.) Much 
of the matter contained in it is, however, of a purely speculative kind. 
According to some accounts, the Irish Druids were accustomed to 
utter certain mysterious and rhapsodical speeches, in an extem- 
poraneous manner ; and several of these reputed improvises have 
been preserved by our scribes. 

On Hallow Eve, in the Highlands of Scotland, a bunch of broom 
is fastened round a pole, and this combustible material is set on fire 
after dusk. The bearer, attended by a great crowd, runs through or 
round the village. Afterwards, flinging his burden down, a great 
quantity of faggots and inflammatory matter is heaped on the burning 
embers, until a great bonfire is kindled, which illuminates the place 
surrounding. This practice is a supposed relic of Druidism ; for the 
old Gallic councils forbid Christians faces prcfem, whilst the accen- 
sores facularum were condemned to capital punishment, this being 
estimated a sort of demonaical sacrifice (Borlase, " Antiquities of 
Cornwall," p. 131). I have not been able to ascertain whether any 
similar custom prevailed in Ireland. 

Among the tiaditions referring to Druidic or Pagan incantations, 
practices, magic and diablerie, the following are on record : 

On the first of May the Druids drove cattle through the Bael fires, 
in order to preserve such animals from disorders during the remainder 
of that year. This pagan custom was lately practised in Munster and 
Connaught, when the farmers and peasants burned wisps of straw 
near their cattle through a like motive. The old Irish used in former 
times a certain ointment compounded of herbs and butter, made on 
May Day or on the festival day of the Holy Cross. This was intended 
to prevent bees from deserting their hives. Since the Druidic times 
Irish spring wells are said to have been invested with some sacred 
character. To desecrate a holy spring is considered profanity, and 
likely to cause it to become dry or to remove far away from its first 
position ; severe chastisement is believed to be oftentimes visited on 
the wanton delinquent. 

26 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

Irish traditions mention a wonderful ring, by which the upright 
judge, Moran, tested guilt and innocence. It is also mentioned in 
the Brehon laws as being one of the ordeals of ancient Ireland. 

The old Irish had some acquaintance with astrology. There is yet 
extant an anonymous poem of twenty-eight verses, describing the 
qualities of persons born on each day of the week. We find also some 
recipes or charms to be used as antidotes against diseases or accidents 
preserved in writing and found in the Irish MS. collection of the 
National Academy, Dublin. 

The transmigration of certain remarkable persons from one animal 
or object to another is frequently found in the relations of our early 
Irish bards ; and this would appear to have formed a part of our 
pagan ancestors' religious creed. (According to a prevailing popular 
notion, witches are often found metamorphosed into rabbits or black 
cats, and chased by huntsmen under such disguises.) 

Among the Highland traditions we are informed that crystal gems, 
sometimes set in silver, are called Clach Bhuai, or " the powerful 
stone" recti Buadhach. Another sort of amulet is called Glein 
Naidr, or " the adder stone." Some necromancy is connected with 
the possession of these relics; for it is believed they ensure good luck 
for the owner. In certain cases the Highlander was known to travel 
over one hundred miles, bringing water with him, in which the Clach 
Bhuai was to be dipped. These were supposed to have been the 
magical gems or stones used by the Druids, and which, when in- 
spected by a chaste boy, would enable him to see an apparition in 
them so as to foretell future events. (See Pennant's " Tour in Scot- 
land, 1769," vol. i., pp. 101, 102; 1774, third edition.) I have not 
been able to discover if a similar custom ever prevailed in Ireland. 

Aan instance of diablerie forming part of our pagan superstitions, 
the following account remains on record. Two women are spoken 
of in some ancient tracts, who are said to have come over from Scot- 
land for the express purpose of subjecting Cormac MacArt, monarch 
of Ireland, to the influences of demonism. The publication of the 
Irish Brehon Laws will doubtless throw a considerable light on our 
more ancient customs, superstitions, habits, and traditions. [See 
Note i.] 

The Irish, like the ancient Romans, paid especial atttention to 
lucky and unlucky days. Augustus the Pious never went abroad on 
that day succeeding Nundinse, nor did he undertake any serious 
business on the Nonas, in order to avoid an unlucky omen. It was 
considered unlucky by the Irish to get married during the month of 
May. The ancient Romans had a like superstition against entering 
the matrimonial state at this period. In the Highlands of Scotland 
the 3rd of May was called La Sheachanna na bleanagh, or "the dismal 
day." It was considered unlucky to begin any affair of consequence 
on that particular day. 

Irish Folk-lore. 27 

The following couplet is often quoted, and much importance is 
attached to it by the country people : 

" Happy is the bride that the sun shines on ; 
Happy is the corpse that the rain rains on." 

Among the strange customs and observations of the Irish people, the 
following deserve to be noted. A horseshoe is nailed on the threshold 
of the peasant's cabin, and cloves of wild garlic are planted on thatch 
over the door for good-luck. It is regarded as unlucky to find a pin 
with the point turned towards you ; but is considered a lucky circum- 
stance to find a crooked pin. Whoever breaks a looking-glass is 
supposed to incur some future calamity; on this superstition an appro- 
priate ballad, called " The Doom of the Mirror," has been written by 
B. Simmons. A red haired woman, if met first in the morning, be- 
tokens something unlucky falling out during the day. To pluck a 
fairy hawthorn-tree is supposed to be extremely dangerous and rash, 
as it provokes elfin resentment and bodes ill-luck. It is considered 
lucky to see magpies in even numbers ; but it i? unlucky to find them 
in odd numbers. It is deemed unlucky to build a house on the 
usually travelled path, where sheeoges or fairies pass. The occupant 
is said to merit their vengeance, and he will suffer evil consequences 
by the wreck of his property or by the premature death of his stock. 
Disasters often happen to members of his family; and sometimes, by 
his own maiming or sudden disease, they are deprived of the means 
of support. 

The following practices or superstitions are probably referable to 
Pagan times. The old custom of dressing the May-bush with gar- 
lands and wild-flowers, whilst placing it on a dungheap or before their 
doors, is now rarely witnessed. The poet Furlong used to witness 
the " May sports," as he tells us in the Dublin and London Magazine 
for 1825-1828. 

When a stranger comes into a farm house whilst a churning takes 
place, if a hand be not given to the well-plied dash by this visitant, it 
is supposed the butter will be abstracted in some mysterious manner. 
Even the upper classes will not refuse a share in this labour, as a 
matter of courtesy and consideration towards the residents' feelings 
and to prevent ill-luck. 

Churning before sunrise upon Mny-morning is an especial object with 
the " gude wife," and to accomplish this matter it is necessary to arrive 
at an early hour. An ass's old shoe is sometimes nailed to the 
bottom of a churn-dash ; coals of fire and some salt are placed under 
the churn, and a scrap of charmed writing is also inserted between the 
hoops and staves. A branch or sapling of rowan-tree or mountain-ash, 
called " Crankeeran" by the Irish, and considered to have been 
endowed with miraculous properties, was cut on May-eve, and twisted 
round the churn before the labour of churning commenced. The 

Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

usages were supposed to influence favourably the product of a large 
quantity of butter. Lads and lasses alternately toiled with patient, 
good-humoured perseverance and great bodily energy to bring the first 
lumps of butter through the opening of a churn-lid. This operation 
was always regarded as a sort of domestic festivity. 

General Valiancy, alluding to All-Hallows Eve, which he identifies 
with the Oidhche Shamhna, or Vigil of Saman, makes mention of 
prevailing usages then in vogue among the Irish peasantry. One of 
their practices was to assemble with sticks and clubs, going about from 
one house to another, collecting money, bread, cake, butter, cheese, 
eggs, etc., for a feast. They demand such viands in the name of St. 
Columbkille, desiring their patrons to lay aside the fatted calf and to 
bring forth the black sheep. Verses were repeated in honour of this 
solemnity. The good women were employed in kneading and baking 
the griddle-cake and in making candles. The latter were sent from 
house to house in ihe neighbourhood, and were lighted on the next day, 
which was dedicated to Saman. Before these candles the recipients 
prayed, or were supposed to pray, for the donor. Every cottage or 
farm-house abounded in the best viands its owners could afford. 
Apples and nuts were devoured in abundance. The nut-shells were 
burned on a clean part of the hearth, and many strange predictions 
were announced from the appearance of the ashes. Cabbages were 
torn up from the root by boys and girls blindfolded, about the hour of 
twelve o'clock at midnight. Their heads and stalks were supposed to 
indicate the physical and mental peculiarities, tidiness, slovenliness, 
etc., of a future husband or wife. Hempseed was sown by the maidens, 
and they believed that if they looked behind, the apparition would 
be seen of a man intended to be their future spouse. They hung a 
chemise before the fire at the close of these ceremonies. They set up 
as watchers during the night, but concealed in a corner of the room, 
or looking through the keyhole of a closed door. They supposed 
that an apparition of the man intended for their future husband would 
come down through the chimney, and be seen turning the garment. 
They used to throw a ball of yarn out through a window, and wind it 
on a reel kept inside of the house. They supposed that by repeating 
a Paternoster backwards and looking out of the window they would 
see his sith or apparition. Boys, and sometimes girls, would dive 
head and shoulders into a tub filled with water, endeavouring to bring 
up an apple cast therein with the mouth. Apples and lighted candles 
were stuck on cross-sticks, suspended by cords from the roof or 
couples, and the former swung round in rapid motion by an unwind- 
ing of the line. During this motion, the peasant endeavoured to 
catch an apple with his mouth, avoiding the flame if possible. These 
and man) other superstitious ceremonies, which are said to have been 
relics of Druidic rites, were observed at this time. Valiancy thought 
they would never be eradicated while the name of Sam in would be 

Irish Folk-lore. 29 

permitted to remain ; but this name and these ceremonies are already 
falling into oblivion. 

Sometimes girls take a riddle and collect a quantity of thrashed 
grain, which they winnow, believing they shall see a future spouse before 
their work is ended. It is also customary to place three plates be- 
fore a person blindfolded, who is led towards them. One of the 
plates contains water, another earth, and the third meal. If the 
person puts his hand in the water, it indicates that he shall live 
longer than a year ; if in the earth, it is thought he will die before 
the close of a year; if in the meal, it betokens the attainment of 

Collcannon is prepared at this time by mashing and boiling to- 
gether potatoes, cabbage, turnips, and*parsnips, with salt and pepper. 
A lump of butter is placed on the top of the dish, which is eaten 
without any other condiment. 

Young females go out at midnight and cast a ball of yarn into the 
bottom of a lime kiln, whilst holding on by a thread. If ths girl 
wind on, and if nothing hold the yarn, it is a sign the winder will die 
unmarried. If she feel it pulled from her, she asks : " Who pulls 
my yarn ?" when it is supposed her future husband will give his name 
or appear to her. Sometimes a demon will approach instead, and 
this latter event indicates that her death is not far distant. As in 
certain parts of Normandy at the present day, it is supposed the pos- 
session of a dead hand, burned and reduced to ashes, will produce 
certain effects ; such charm or witchcraft appears to have had some 
influence over the superstitious imaginations of our peasantry. The 
dead hand was usually kept for the practice of certain incantations 
alike repugnant to reason and religion. These customs are almost 
extinct, and were considered too closely allied with diablerie and 
magic to be used by any except the most unchristian practitioners. 

Among some Irish superstitions and customs which cannot be 
referred to any distinct heading, and the origin of which it might be 
equally difficult to define, the following are still prevalent in most 
districts of Ireland. A dog or horse, and more especially a mare, 
often sees a spirit, when the ghost is invisible to a human eye. 
Spirits cannot cross running water. Whoever can find fern-seeds will 
be able to render himself invisible whenever he chooses. It is also 
supposed that if the root of fern be cut transversely, the initial letter 
of a chiefs name will be found, and to him it is thought the land on 
which this plant grew formerly belonged. 

It is believed that whoever will go out on Easter Sunday morning 
at an early hour, may observe the sun dancing on the surface of a 
lake or river. 

No supposition is more general than the opinion that gold or 
silver may be found under nearly all the raths, cairns, or old castles 
throughout this island. It is always a difficult task to exhume buried 

30 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

treasure, for some preternatural guardian or other will be found on 
the alert. This treasure is usually deposited in " a crock ;" but when 
an attempt is made to lift it some awful Gorgon or monster appears 
on the defensive and offensive. Sometimes a rushing wind sweeps 
over the plain, or from the opening made, with destructive force, 
carrying away the gold-seeker's hat or spade, or even in various in- 
stances the adventurer himself, who is deposited with broken bones 
or a paralysed frame at a respectful distance from the object of his 

On the banks of a northern river, and near a small eminence, is a 
beautiful green plot, on which two large moss covered stones, over 
600 feet apart, are shown. It is said two immense " crocks " of gold 
lie buried under these conspicuous landmarks, and that various at- 
tempts have been made to dig around and beneath them. In all those 
instances, when a persistent effort had been made, a monk appeared 
in full habit, with a cross in his hand, to warn off sacrilegious offenders. 
It had been intended, so say the legend-mongers, to erect near this 
spot a church, equal in its dimensions and beauty to St. Peter's at 
Rome. The contents of one "crock" were destined to erect such a 
structure, and those of the other were intended for its complete 

Is/ain Ceallmhuin, the fortune-teller, or literally "the humble 
oracle," is a person to whose predictions much importance is attached 
by the young and unmarried. This pretender to a foreknowledge of 
future events was generally a female, who led a sort of wandering life, 
and made occasional rounds through a pretty considerable district, 
over which her reputation prevailed. Such was especially the case in 
the southern parts of Ireland ; but in the northern province men fol- 
lowed this vocation, and we find in Charles Gavan Duffy's spirited 
ballad entitled Innis-Eoghain allusion made to these seers, supposed 
to have been gifted with the prophetic "second sight." They are there 
designated " Spsemen " tantamount to " diviners." The women 
fortune-tellers are called " Spoewives," and were usually consulted by 
foolish young people, on the probabilities or future contingencies of 
a married life. They were supposed to have a supernatural knowledge 
of family secrets, which they often acquired by ordinary means ; and 
thus were enabled to predict or direct, as occasion served, for those 
credulous dupes that sought their counsel. 

Towards the close of the last century and beginning of the present, 
a certain roving character, called the prophecy-man, was often hos- 
pitably entertained in houses of Irish cottagers and farmers. He was 
supposed to be well versed in all ancient traditions of the country, 
and especially able to explain or unravel many of those prophecies 
referred to Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Columbkille, or to other Irish 

There are various local legends current among the peasantry living 

Irish Folk-lore. 31 

in the vicinity of old ruined churches and monasteries. These usually 
have reference to celebrated miracles wrought by their patron saints. 
In many instances such traditions have been found recorded in the 
acts or lives of saints yet extant. As a specimen of the once favourite 
popular traditions, the following have been extracted from yet unpub- 
lished MS. accounts : 

St. Patrick came on a visit to Tara, at the request of King Leag- 
haire's queen, for the purpose of curing her son Lughaidh of a disease 
which gave him a voracious appetite. Whilst at dinner Lughaidh 
seized a large piece of bread and thrust it into his mouth, but it 
stopped in his throat and choked him to death. Patrick prayed to 
GoJ for him. Michael the Archangel came in the shape of a bird, 
and drew up the piece of bread, besides a spoon he had swallowed, 
with his bill. St. Patrick is supposed to have composed a quatrain 
on this occasion, in which he ordered St. Michael's spoon and St. 
Michael's bit to be given by each person. It declares a woe against 
him who would eat a meal without giving a tithe of it to God and a 
bit to St. Michael. 

When St. Mochuda was in the habit of touching anything greasy 
with his hands, he usually rubbed them on his shoes. Having resolved 
on abandoning the monastery in Rathan, he wished to go on a foreign 
pilgrimage, lest he might become vain of the character he had acquired 
at home. He went to St. Comgall of Bangor and told his design. 
After he had sat down, and his shoes had been removed, St. Comgall 
said: "Come out of that shoe, thou devil!" "It is not amiss that 
he has met you," said the devil, " because I would not allow him to 
remain two nights in one place, for the partiality he has shown to his 
own shoes above those of his own congregation." 

St. Brendan, son of Finnlogh, was at his church in Duhhdhoira, 
now supposed to be Doora, near Ennis in Thomond. His nearest 
neighbour on the north was Dobharchu, from whom are descended 
the Ui Dobharchon, now the O'Liddys. Dobharchu had a grass-field 
or meadow near Loch Lir. Brendan's oxen went there to graze : 
Dobharchu killed these oxen, and this matter was told to St. Brendan. 
" If God permit," said St. Brendan, " may he be transformed into a 
real Dobharchu," i.e., an otter. Some time afterwards Dobharchu 
went to look at the meadow ; a trout sprang up in the lake before 
him ; he caught it with a hook, struck a fire, and then roasted it. He 
then went to take a drink at the lake, into which he fell, and was 
immediately transformed into an otter, owing to St. Brendan's im- 
precation. Dobharchu's son, Cuchuan, afterwards came on a fishing 
excursion to the lake, but his father cautioned him against this prac- 
tice. Four Irish quatrains are extant which contain this prohibitory 

The bardic fictions usually classed under the denomination of 
Ossianic or Fenian poems are yet preserved in the Irish language ; 

32 Fairy Beliefs, Elc. 

but for the most part they bear intrinsic evidence of their origin and 
composition referring to no very remote period. Doubtless, in many 
instances, they have been interpolated or amended by more modern 
Irish rhymers or transcribers. Numberless copies, with various read- 
ings, exist in MSS. belonging to individuals and public institutions. 
Specimens of these poems have been published by the Ossianic 
Society, founded in 1853 by Mr. Hardiman, Mr. O'Flanigan, and 
others. Whilst illustrating a rude state of social habits, usages, and 
modes of thought, they oftentimes present interesting evidences of 
inventive power and graphic description. In the Irish language, these 
lengthened compositions were often recited from memory, and trans- 
mitted in this manner from father to son through many successive 
generations. Even in the wilds of Connemara, in the remote glens 
of U'lster, and through the mountainous districts of Munster, such 
bardic fyttes are yet recited. Throughout the province of Leinster, 
these fireside contes have fallen into desuetude since the beginning of 
the present century. 

Remarks on the Reliques of Ancient Poetry. Fairies. 

[1795, ran n., pp. 553-558.] 

The origin of vulgar superstitions is a very curious subject, which, 
leading us often into the most remote antiquity, lays open the early 
history of nations, but is generally obscure in proportion to its an- 
tiquity. Of this remark, a strong proof may be deduced from our 
antiquated notions about 

" The faery Indies dancing on the hearth ;"* 

of which our best poets have frequently made so good an use ; and 
concerning which, hypotheses the most opposite and irreconcileable 
have been formed. 

Isaac Casaubon, in his learned treatise "De Satyrica Poesi," lib. i. 
cap. i, p. 45, derives them from the Greeks: "Attici et lones," says 
he, "Satyros vocarant <I>HPA2 vel OHPEA2; poetarum principif 
fljS sunt centauri." Of the same opinion also was Ben Jonson, 
whose " Masque of Queens " may be consulted with advantage upon 
this subject ; and who, in his learned notes upon that performance, 
deduces our word "fairy" from this original. It is certain that 
there are some points of resemblance between these beings and the 
ancient satyrs : of whom Orpheus, Hymn liii. 7, 

Aff'p' ITTI iravQtiov Tf\tTt}v SaTTJpoic tifta 

* Milton. 

t Nestor, in Homer, relates that Peirithoos, Dryas, Caeneus, Exadius, etc., 

<5>i]f>oiv opeaiciaoKTi, Kal Otiray\ti> aTroKiaoav. II. a. 268. 
This, I believe, is the passage which Casaubon had in his eye. 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 33 

where we have the former appellative explained : for <pri? is only the 
ancient form of 3ijj, as appears from the fera of the Latins. Such, 
again, were the nymphs: "the wakeful nymphs, deities formidable to 
the country girls," says Theocritus : 

Nwju^at rtKotfirjToi, fietvai 3eai aypoiwrmt; Hylas, v. 44. 

which is exactly like our ballad : 

" And if the house be foul, 
Upstairs we nimbly creep, 
And find the sluts asleep." 

Hence, adds the scholiast, we call some people VO/^^^TDI. So 
also Baxter, ad. Hor. O. ii. 19: "Nomphaj ct satyri erant dii 
manes, qui a vulgo creduntur etiam hodie in silvis saltitare. Satyri 
ideo capripedes quod primis temporibus silvestres homines caprinis 
pellibus amiciebantur. Etiam hodie priorum seculorum habitu, albis 
scilicet et cceruleis vestimentis, saltare feruntur." 

It is obvious, however, that we do not find, in these nymphs and 
satyrs, that diminutive and sprightly species of existence which con- 
stitutes our idea of a fairy. 

Others, again, tell us that "this fiction of the fairies was un- 
doubtedly brought, with many other fantastic extravagances of the 
like nature, from the Eastern nations, by the European Christians 
who had been at the holy war" (Warton, "Obs. on Spenser," p. 43). 
"There was formerly," we are told, "in the East, a race of creatures 
named Dives and Peris by the Persians, and Ginn by the Arabians : 
whence the Greeks have formed their ft.oc ; the Romans their genius, 
ingenium, divus, etc. God, before the formation of Adam, created the 
Dives, and intrusted to them the government of the world for seven 
thousand years" (Herbelot, "Bibliot. Orient.," pp. 298, 387). "The 
Peris succeeded them, and inhabited the earth for two thousand 
years more. The Dives were powerful and strong ; the Peris were 
wiser and better" (Bailly, "Lettres sur 1'Atlantide," p. 131, ubi 

Here the name inclines to support the derivation proposed ; and 
the time conspires, at first sight, to the same end : for Mr. Warton, 
we have seen, supposes the notion to have been introduced by the 
Crusaders : and the historian of the Troubadours says, that the most 
early mention of it occurs in a sirvcnte of William, Count of Poitou, 
who died in 1122: "Les fees," dit-il, "1'ont ainsi constitud Nous 
ne connoissons pas de te'moignage plus ancien sur les fees ; et, 
sans doute, elles faisoient peu de sensation ! puisque les Troubadours 
n'ont point du tout profit^ des ressources qu'elles pouvoient fournir 
a la poe"sie" ("Hist. litt. des Troub.," torn. L, p. 13). If, however, 
our fairies are connected "with the Persian Peris, it is only as both 
nations are sister descendants from the great Asiatic hive, and 
transported into the countries of their respective settlements divers 

VOL. iv. 3 

34 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

fragments of the popular belief of their Tartarian ancestors ; among 
whom this superstition still constitutes a part of the vulgar creed. 
See Tooke's "Russia," vol. iii., pp. 258-281; whence we learn that 
the followers of Schamanism believe in the existence of spirits who 
dwell in water, earth, volcanoes, and forests; that there are some 
fairies who ride their horses, and others who preside over mines, and 
whom they call lords of iron. Indeed, that we are not indebted to 
t"he Crusades for this notion appears from their being mentioned 
earlier. Thus, in an old chronicle (ap. Eccard, "Hist. GeneaL 
Saxon.," super, p. 567), they were seen by Earl Helperic, the 4th 
in descent from Witikind : "Hie, quadam die cum in venatione 
csset, vidit nanos illic ludentes et prseliantes : ex quibus unum audivit 
ventilantem cornu; et post sonitum cornu omnes bestia; convenerunt, 
et se prassentise illius exhibuerunt. Quod comes cernens, cornu de 
manu ejus tulit, et festinanter fugit Nanus autem insequebatur 
eum, clamans, ' redde mihi cornu ; si mihi reddideris, ditior de die 
in diem eris ; si vero non reddideris, alieni hoeredes tui erunt, et 
generatio tua ad nihilum deveniet.' Et cornu, quod comes manu 
tenebat, nusquam apparuit." Such also are the sprites spoken of by 
Gervase of Tilbury (ap. Tyrw-hitt ad Chaucer, 6441), who were 
" statura pusilli, dimidium pollicis non habentes ;" whereas the Peris 
seem to have been gigantic. If, therefore, they had not found their 
way down so low as Provence before the twelfth century, this must 
have proceeded from their having been introduced into Europe by 
our Northern ancestors, who imported them, as I conceive, from the 
plains of Tartary. That we are justified in assigning to them a 
Northern descent, is countenanced by a profound Antiquary (Eccard, 
in Praefat. ad Leibnitz, "Collectan. Etymolog.," p. 8), who conceives 
the word fee, or fata, to be of Celtic origin, being derived from 
ffawd, augurium: whence were denominated their soothsayers, or 
oualna (of whom Strabo, lib. iv., p. 302, Ammian. Marcellin., xv. f.); 
whence also came the Latin vates (which Mr. Macphersorv also 
derives from the Celtic, "Critical Dissert.," p. 205); and with which 
is connected the Greek Ao/5o; (with the digamma, Wao;3of, cf. Heyne, 
ad Virgil. Eel., ix. 34), our waits, a species of nocturnal musician 
well known in the Midland Counties, and the German wag/if. 
"Upon the abolition of the old Celtic religion," continues Mr. 
Eccard, ubi supra, " the memory of these vates, or fata, continued 
among the common people in France, who gave that name to their 
rustic sprites, whom they believed to foretell future events : in like 
manner as from the Druids, another order of the Celtic priesthood, 
the nightmare is still called die trutte in Germany. In a late 
journey," adds he, "which I took into Misnia, I found that the 
peasants called our frau Holde i.e., Hecate, or Velleda -frau 
Faute, the lady Faute : and thus also Vauda, that famous prophetess 
and heroine of the Poles, may have been denominated from the same 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 35 

source by the insertion of the letter . so that these vates seem to 
have been known to the Germans and Sarmatae as well as to the 
Celts." Mr. Tyrwhitt's derivation (ad Chaucer, rtt supra), though 
somewhat varying from Eccard's, is reconcilable therewith ; as the 
former supposes the modern word to be derived from the Latin, 
while the latter conceives both to be descended from the same 
source. "Feerie" (says he), "Fr. from fee, the French name for 
those fantastical beings which, in the Gothic language, are called 
alfs, or elves. The corresponding names to fee in other romance 
dialects, are fata, Ital., and hada, Span., so that it is probable that 
all three are derived from the Lat. fatum, which, in the barbarous 
ages, was corrupted into fatus and fata. See Menage in v. Fee ; 
Du Cange in v. Fadus." It seems to me that our old English word 
for the individual or concrete is fay, and that fairy was the abstract 
substantive denoting the species; which, if true, negatives their 
descent from ptipts, or Peri. 

Of the alfs, or elves, mentioned by Mr. Tyrvvhitt, it may be observed, 
that they were so denominated from their diminutive stature, q. d. 
half-men, homines dimidiiiti. Eccard speaks of them as only " swart 
faeries of the mine." " Metallorum deum habuisse Celtes facile 
crediderim ; cum et nos alpes, sive virunculos metallicos venerati 
simus ; et slavi coboldos, quod idem denotat, tanquam prsesides metal- 
lorum coluerint " (ubi supra, p. 20). This hypothesis effectually 
destroys the etymology of those who would derive our elfs and goblins 
from the faction of the Guelfs and Ghibelines in Italy (see Warton's 
" Spenser," p. 38) ; though I am willing enough to believe that 
Spenser gave in to this general opinion. The goblins are, doubtless, 
related to the cobolds of Eccard ; but a more immediate connexion 
may be traced to the Gobelinus, whom St. Taurinus drove from the 
temple of Diana at Evreux, in Normandy, and who still "degit in 
eadem urbe, et ni variis frequenter formis apparens neminem tedit " 
(" Orderic. Vitall.," 1. v., p. 556, ap. Tyrwhitt, ut supra}. The in- 
noxious nature of this demon resembles that which Gervase of Tilbury 
("Ot. Imp.," iii. c. 61, 2, ibid, citat) relates of the demons, "quos 
Galli neptunos, Angli portunos, nominant ... id illis insitum est, ut 
obsequi posint, et obesse non posint." These last, indeed, he in- 
forms us, were fond of a little mirth, as they would perform the same 
prank as Puck relates in Midsummer Night's Dream, act ii., sc. i. 
" Cum enim inter ambiguas noctis tenebras Angli solitarii quandoque 
equitant, Portunus nonnunquam invisus equitanti sese copulat ; et 
cum diutius comitatur euntum. tandem loris arreptis, equum in lutum 
ad manum ducit; in quo dum infixus volutatur, Portunus exiens 
cachinnum facit; et sic, hujuscemodi ludibrio humanam simplicitatem 

It is far from my intention to enter into a detail of all the feast 
related of these aerial beings by our credulous ancestors ; but, having 


36 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

laid open the prevailing opinions relative to their origin, I shall content 
myself with directing the attention of your readers to two or three 
detached passages concerning them, scattered up and down in diffe- 
rent authors. Eccard (ut supra, p. 22) mentions "spectra ex Drui- 
dibus conficta, qua? trutten et weisse frauen, candide indutas fceminas, 
vel etiam sapientes faminas dicimus ; qua; bona consilia hominibus 
dare, et mala averruncare vulgo adhuc apud plebem creduntur." May 
not our -word fairy come from this frauen ? 

Reginald Scot, in his "Discovery of Witchcraft," 1584, makes 
mention of the Lares, Larvae, Verinculi terrei, such as was Robin 
Goodfellow in England, who would supply the office of servants, 
specially of maids; and Hudgin, a very familiar and sociable hob- 
goblin in Germany, so called because he always wore a cap or hood. 
Such also was Frier Rush, who also inhabited the kitchen. In Book 
vii. he mentions their different names as spirits, hags, fairies, imps, 
incubi, Robin Goodfellows, men-in-the-oak, puckles, fire-drakes, hob- 
goblins, torn-thumbs, etc. ; and in Book iv. he contends that these 
superstitious notions were invented, or, at least, encouraged by the 
monks, in order to cover their debaucheries ; Robin Goodfellow being 
but a lewd cosening frier. (See Oldys, Brit. Libr., No. xxxvii.) 

Burton enters pretty much at large into the subject ; he divides 
them into their several elements ("Anat. Melanch.," Part I., 2, 
Memb. i, Subs. 2, p. 47), like as Michael Psellus had said before him :* 
See Shakespeare's Tempest, act i., sc. ii., p. 25, edit 1785. Johnson's 
note 3. And after him our Hooker (book i., cap. 4) : " The fall of 
the angels was pride. Since their fall, being dispersed some in the 
air, some on the earth, some in the water, some among the minerals, 
dens, and caves that are under the earth, they have by all means 
laboured to effect an universal rebellion." Thus Milton, // Pemeroso : 

" Those demons that are found 
In fire, air, flood, or under ground." 

Whence Mason, Caradacus, act i., scene 2 : 

"The spirits of air. 
Of earth, of water, nay, of heav'n itself." 

In the list of interlocutori, in LAdamo of G. B. Andremi, is a 
" choro di spiriti ignei, acrei, acquatici, ed infernali" (Warton's " Essay 
on Pope," vol. ii., Appendix). The Rosicrucian doctrine of the in- 
visible inhabitants of the four elements, which is exposed in so agree- 
able a manner by Abbe" Villars, in his " Entretiens du Comte de 
Gabalis " (Entret. 2d), is founded upon a very antient and prevailing 
superstition; since, besides the instances alleged above, Procopius 

[* The Greek quotation here given is incorrect, and I cannot identify it in the 
works of Psellus. See Note 2.] 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 37 

(" Gothic," lib. ii.) tells us that the people of Thule worship demons 
aerial, terrestrial, and marine, who are said to dwell in springs and 

But, to confine ourselves to those at present under discussion, 
Burton says of the water-nymphs, that " some call them fairies, and 
say that Habundia is their queene. Olaus Magnus, lib. iii., hath a 
long narration of one Hotherus, a king of Sweden, that, having lost 
his company as he was hunting one day, met with these water-nymphs 
or fairies, and was feasted by them. Terrestrial devils are those lares, 
genii, faunes, satyrs, wood-nymphs, foliots (esprits follets, Fr. ; foiled, 
Ital. Tyrw. ub. supr. ), fairies, Robin Goodfellows, trulli, etc. Some 
put out fairies into this ranke (elvas Olaus vocat, lib. iii.), which 
had been in former times adored with much superstition, with sweep- 
ing their houses, and setting of a paile of cleane water, good victuals, 
and the like ; and then they should not be pinched, but finde money 
in their shoes, and be fortunate in their enterprises." Thus Urayton, 
in that elegant system of faery, his " Nimphidia " : 

"These make our girls their sluttery rue 
By pinching them both black and blue, 
But put a penny in their shoe 
The house for cleanly sweeping." 

"They are sometimes seene," adds Burton, "by old women and 
children. Hierome Pauli, in his description of the city of Bercius, 
in Spaine, relates how they have been familiarly seen neare that towne 
about fountains and hills. So Lilly tells us ("Life," p. 152) that the 
fairies love the Southern side of hills, mountains, groves : and thus 
also the thime for Dr. Dee's " Unguent," in p. 214, must be " gathered 
neare the side of a hill where fayries use to be." " Nonnunquam 
(saith Tritemius) in sua latibula montium simpliciores homines ducant, 
stupenda mirantibus ostentes miracula, nolarum sonitus, spectacula, 
etc.?" In like manner the Welsh call their fairies "the spirits 
of the mountains" p. 203. " Paracelsus (in libro de zilphis et pig- 
niseis) reckons up many places in Germany where they do usually 
walke in little coats, some two foot long." And such we^e the portuni 
of Gervas. Tilbur. (tit supra) " senili vultu, facie corrugata." " A 
bigger kinde there is of them, called with us hobgoblins and Robin 
Goodfellowes, that would, in those superstitious times, grinde come 
for a messe of milke, cut wood, or doe any manner of drudgery 
worke. Tholosanus calls them truths and getulos ; and saith, that in 
his dayes they were common in many places of France ; qui et in 
famulitio vitis et foeminis inserviunt, conclavis scopis purgant, patinas 
mundant, ligna portant, equos curant, etc. (lib. vii., cap. 14). Dith- 
marus Bleskenius, in his description of Iceland, reports for a certainty 
that almost in every family they have yet some such familiar spirits : 
and Fselix Malleolus (in his book " De Crudel. Daemon.") affirms 

38 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

as much, that these (roffi, or telchitus, are very common in Norway, 
and seene to doe drudgery worke, ad ministeria utuntur ; to draw 
water, saith Wierus (lib. i., c. 22), dresse meat, or any such thing. 

"Another sortof these there are which frequent forlorne houses where 
treasure is hid, as some thinke, or some murder, or suchlike villany, 
committed, to which the Italians call foliots ; most part innoxious." 
Of these Gervase of Tilbury speaks (Dec. i. cap. 18) under the 
denomination of foiled. Cardan (lib. xvL de Rerum Varietal.) 
holds, " they will make strange noyses in the night, howle sometimes 
pitifully, and then laugh againe, cause great flame and sudden lights, 
fling stones, rattle chaines, shave men, open doores and shut them, 
fling downe platters, stooles, chests, sometimes appeare in the like- 
nesse of hares, crowes, black dogges," etc. Of this species was the 
spirit mentioned in the MS. Antiquities of Lincoln, Harleian MSS. 
No. 6829, fol. 162, under the article Bolingbroke; and, as I do not 
know that the account has ever appeared in print, I shall transcribe 
it at length, and literatim, from the MS. : 

" One thinge is not to be passed by, affirmed as a certaine trueth 
by many of the inhabitants of the towne upon their owne know- 
ledge ; which is, that the castle is haunted by a certaine spirit in the 
likenesse of a hare, which, at the meeting of the auditors, doeth 
usually runne betweene their legs, and somctymes overthrows them, 
and soe passes away. They have pursued it down into the castle- 
yard, and seene it take in att a grate into a low cellar, and have 
followed it thither with a light ; where, notwithstanding that they did 
most narrowly observe it, and that there was noe other passage out 
but by the doore or windowe, the roome being all close framed of 
stones within, not having the least chinke or crevice, yett they could 
never fynde it. And att other tymes it hath ben seene run in at iron- 
grates below, into other of the grottos (as there be many of them), 
and they have watched the place, and sent for houndes, and put in 
after it, but after a while they have come crying out." 

Thus far the MS. : 

"Others there are, which Mizaldus cals ambulones, that walke 
about midnight on great heaths and desart places ; which " (sayeth 
Lavater, lib. i. cap. 44), "draw men out of the way, and lead them 
all night a byway, or quite barre them of the way. These have 
several names in several places ; we commonly call them pucks. In 
the deserts of Lop, in Asia, such illusions of walking spirits are 
often perceived, as you may read in Marcus Paulus, the Venetian, 
his travels. If one lose his company by chance, these devils will 
call him by his name, and counterfeyt voyces of his companions, to 
seduce him : daemonum cernuntur et audiuntur ibi frequentes illu- 
siones, unde viatoribus cavendum, ne se dissocient ; aut a tergo 
maneant ; voces enim fingunt sociorum, ut a recto itinere abducant." 

Hence our Milton, who well knew how to apply the fruits of an 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 39 

extensive reading to all the purposes of a most fervid and poetical 
imagination : 

" A thousand fantasies 
Begin to throng into my memory, 
Of calling shapes, and beck'ning shadows dire, 
And aery tongues, that syllable men's names 
On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses." 

Comus, v. 205. 

"Hieronymus Pauli (in his booke of the hils of Spayne) relates 
of a great mount in Cantabria where such spectrums are to be scene : 
mons sterilis et nivosus, ubi intempesta nocte umbrae apparent. 
Lavater and Cicogna have variety of examples of spirits and walking 
devils in this kinde. 

" Sometimes they sit by the highway-side to give men falls, and 
make their horses stumble and start as they ride ; offendicula faciunt 
transeuntibus in via, et petulanter rident cum vel hominem, vel 
jumentum ejus, pedes atterere faciant; et rnaxime si homo male- 
dictis et calcaribus saeviat; if you will believe the relation of that holy 
man Ketellus (in Nubrigensis, lib. ii. c. 21), who had an especial grace, 
gratiam divinitus collatam, to see devills, and to talke with them, et 
impavidus cum spiritibus sermonem miscere." 

On the subject of subterraneous fairies, Burton is not so full. 
He confines himself to observe that "Olaus Magnus (lib. vi. c. 19) 
makes sixe kinds of them, some bigger, some lesse. These, saith 
Munster (in Cosmogr.), are commonly seene about mines of metals ; 
and are some of them noxious, some again doe noe harm." Of these 
Mr. Sarjent has made good use in his elegant dramatic poem in- 
tituled "The Mine;" in the learned notes on which performance are 
contained more particulars relative to this species of beings. " The 
metall-men in many places account it good lucke, a signe of treasure 
and rich ore, when they see them. George Agricola (in his booke " De 
Subterraneis Animantibus," c. 37) reckons two more notable kindes 
of them, which he calls Getuli and Cobalt " (hence, perhaps, or from 
the Sclavonic cobold, mentioned by Eccard above, the mineral called 
cobalt}; "both are cloathed after the manner of metall-men, and will, 
many times, imitate their workes ; vestiti more metallicorum, gestus 
et opera eorum imitantur." 

In the very entertaining "Melanges de Litterature" of Vigneul, 
Marville (torn, i., p. IIT, edit. 1789) is an amusing tale, which may 
not improperly be introduced on this occasion, and of which I shall 
therefore present your readers with a translation. 

" Piron is an ancient castle, situated on the coast of Lower Nor 
mandy, opposite to Jersey and Guernsey. Andrew du Chesne (in 
his book "Of the Antiquities, Towns, Castles, and Remarkable 
Places of France," corrected and augmented by his son Francis, 
Paris, 1668), mentions it as a strong castle; and M. Scudery has 

40 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

given an elegant description of it, under the name of the castle of 
Resmelians or Vivarambe, in his "Almaide." 

" This castle is so ancient, and accompanied with so many mar- 
vellous circumstances, that the good folks thereabouts believe it to 
have been built by the fairies, many years before the Norwegians or 
Normans settled in Neustria. (If any one chooses to find a re- 
semblance between Piron and the Peri of Persia, he has my leave 
so to do.) They will tell you that these fairies, the daughters of a 
great lord of the country, who was also a famous enchanter, assumed 
the form of wild geese when these Northern pirates landed at Piron; 
and that they are the very same birds which come every year and 
build their nests in this wonderful castle The thing is certainly 
surprising, and well deserves the naturalist's attention. The following 
is a description of it : 

"At the foot of the castle walls are eighteen or twenty stone 
niches, wherein the inhabitants place every year nests of straw or 
hay for the wild geese, that never fail to come on the first of March. 
They come during the night, and commence their annual visit by 
flying round and round several times, to see, by the light of the 
moon or stars, whether their nests are ready. The day following 
they take possession of those nests which they like best ; a selection 
which is not concluded without blows. Sometimes they inflict such 
wounds upon each other with their claws and beaks that they are 
covered with blood ; and make so great a noise that the echoes 
which inhabit the old walls of the castle resound with their cries ; 
and, neither in the apartments of the castle, nor in the neighbouring 
cottages, can you hear for their clamour. When the bravest of the 
geese have filled all the nests, the peasants place six or seven others 
on the parapets of the walls, and these do not long remain empty. 
As these walls are of a very extraordinary height, the birds which 
lay their eggs there, take care, as soon as the young ones are hatched, 
to inform the people by their cries, that they may come and take 
them down into the ditch. If the peasants neglect this good office, 
the mothers themselves take them down ; and, affectionately stretch- 
ing forth their wings, break the fall and prevent them from being 

" They keep all the while in pairs ; and it is remarkable that they 
are true wild geese, and that sometimes none of these birds are to 
be seen in the neighbouring districts at the time when thousands are 
swimming upon the lakes of Piron. 

"Though elsewhere they are so wild that they will not let one 
come within six hundred paces of them, yet, while they reside within 
the castle, to testify due gratitude for the hospitality of their land- 
lord, they lay aside their savage nature (exeunt silvestrem animum), 
coming to take bread out of the hand, and not being frightened 
either by cries or by the firing of guns. They sift from the beginning 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 41 

of March to the middle of May. When the young ones are strong 
enough to follow them, they go off in the night, and make their 
retreat to the neighbouring lakes till the same time next year. 

"The people of the country, who plume themselves upon their 
observations, pretend (as is affirmed of the storks in Switzerland and 
Holland) that it is a good sign when a great number of wild geese 
come to Piron. The lord of the castle, who is very careful that their 
nests should be soft, and that they should have plenty of meat, 
told us that there were a great many this year, whence it is conjec- 
tured that there will be a good year, or that we shall have peace. 

" I knew an old Norman gentleman who told me that, when he 
was a child, he was taught to read a very old chronicle, in which it 
was related, that when a son was born to the illustrious house of 
Piron, the males of these birds were cloathed with grey plumage, 
and took the upper hand in the courts of the castle ; but, when it 
was a daughter, the females, with feathers whiter than the snow, had 
the right hand of the males. But, if this daughter were to take 
the veil, it was observed that one of these geese would build no 
nest, but would sit alone in a corner, eating very little, and, I know 
not why, heaving the deepest sighs." 

[1795, Part II., pp. 651, 655.] 

It is well known that the ministry of fairies was peculiarly conversant 
with the birth of children. It is unnecessary to accumulate passages 
to this point ; the testimony of Milton is express ; and he has touched 
it with his usual liveliness of fancy : 

" Good luck befriend thee, son ; for, at thy birth 
The faery ladies'd upon the hearth ; 
The druusy nurse hath sworn she did them spie 
Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie, 
And, sweetly singing round about thy bed, 
Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head." 

At a Vacation Exercise. 

They were also supposed to predict deaths ; of which the diligence 
of Burton hath amassed various instances ; to which may be added 
the marvellous tales related by Dr. Plot, in his letter concerning an 
intended journey through England, published by Hearne in his edition 
of " Leland's Itinerary," vol. ii., p. 135. 

They entered largely into the mystic philosophy of the last century. 
The life of Lilly shows how much he made use of them : 

"Since I have related of the queen of the fairies," says he, "I shall 
acquaint you that it is not for everyone, or every person, that these 
angelical creatures will appear unto ; or [nor] indeed is it given to 
very many persons to endure their glorious aspects. A very sober, 
discreet person, of virtuous life and conversation, was beyond measure 
desirous to see something in this nature. He went with a friend into 

42 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

my Hurst wood : the queen of fairies was invocated : a gentle mur- 
muring wind came first ; after that, among the hedges, a smart whirl- 
wind ; by-and-by a strong blast of wind blew upon the face of the 
friend ; and the queen appearing in a most illustrious glory, ' No 
more, I beseech you,' quoth the friend ; ' my heart fails, I am not 
able to endure longer." Nor was he ; his black curling hair rose 
up, and I believe a bullrush would have beat him to the ground." 
(P. 150.) 

And, soon after, " The fairies love the southern side of hills, moun- 
tains, groves." Hence, in the, receipt for the Unguent (infra, p. 214), 
the thime " must be gathered near the side of a hill where fayries use 
to be." Lilly goes on : " Neatness and cleanliness of apparel, a strict 
diet, an upright life, fervent prayers unto God, conduce much to the 
assistance of those who are curious these ways" (p. 152). The former 
of these requisites, an attention to cleanliness, is insisted upon, as we 
have seen, by Burton and Drayton ; and is further mentioned in the 
ballad (infra p. 208 [33] ) : 

" And if the house be foul 
With platter, dish, or bowl, 
Up stairs we nimbly creep, 
And find the sluts asleep, etc. 

In like manner, the daemons of the Greeks disliked all ill smells : 

AI'XMUI' yap wff/idf 8 0iX(Ti Saiftovtf. 

Athenaeus, lib. x., p. 442. 

which reminds me of the manner in which Tobias freed the house of 
his father-in-law Raguel from the evil spirit (Tobit viii. 2). Of whom 
Milton, " Paradise Lost" (iv. 166) : 

" So entertain'd those odorous sweets the fiend 
Who came their bane ; though with them better pleas'd 
Than Asmoileus with the fishy fume 
That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse 
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 
From Media post to Egypt." 

As to the second requisite, the necessity of sobriety and religious 
conversation to constitute an adept, it is frequently inculcated by the 
knavish enthusiast for he seems to have been both whom I have 
cited above. Thus Evans the astrologer, wanting to invoke the 
" angel Salmon, of the nature of Mars, reads his litany every day at 
select hours, wears his surplice, lives orderly all the time" ("Life of 
William Lilly," p. 32). Nor was this confined to an intercourse with 
fairies ; the Rosicrucians required from their scholars a renunciation 
of all carnal delights (see " Warton on Pope," vol. i., p. 227 ; " En- 
tretiens du Comte de Gabalis," entr. 2d : and, which is the same 
work, '|Chiave del Gabinetto del Cavagl. Borri," i zmo, Colog., p. 1 6) ; 
which is elegantly alluded to by Mr. Pope in his sprightly dedication 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 43 

of the " Rape of the Lock ;" and which was actually made by Apol- 
lonius of Tyana, at sixteen years of age (see " Bayle" au Mot): "The 
chemists," >., alchemists, "lay it down," says Sprat ("Hist, of the 
Royal Society," [1667], pt. i., sect, xiv., p. 34), "as a necessary 
qualification of their happy man, to whom God will reveal their 
adored elixir, that he must be rather innocent and virtuous than 

With regard to the method of invoking fairies by a chrystal glassful 
of earth, it is further described by the Abb Villers (" Comte de 
Gabalis," entretien 2d. ; "Chiave del Gabinetto," etc., p. 28) : 

" We need only close up a glassful of conglobated air, water, or 
earth, and expose it to the sun one month ; then separate the ele- 
ments according to art. 'Tis wondrous what a magnetic quality 
each of these purified elements has to attract nymphs, sylphs, and 
gnomes. Take but ever so small a dose every day, and you will see 
the republick of sylphs fluttering in the air, the nymphs making to the 
banks in shoals, and the gnomes, the guardians of wealth, spreading 
forth their treasures ;" as he has just before taught how the salaman- 
ders may be reduced under command with a globe of glass wherein 
the solar beams are concentrated by means of concave mirrors.* 

The use of glasses in incantations is alluded to by Dr. Sprat, "Hist, 
of Royal Society," pt. ii., sect 16, p. 97 : 

" 'Tis true, the mind of man is a glass, which is able to represent 
to itself all the works of nature ; but it can only show those figures 
which have been brought before it ; it is no magical glass, like that 
with which astrologers use to deceive the ignorant, by making them 
believe that therein they may behold the image of any place or person 
in the world, though never so far removed from it" 

Mr. Warton (" Hist, of English Poetry," vol. i., p. 407) derives 
them from the Arabians, who pretended to predict future events by 
consulting mirrors. " It is certain," he observes, "that they applied 
the study of opticks, which they borrowed from the Aristotelian philo- 
sophy, to several purposes of natural magick, and that the modern 
philosophers are indebted for many useful discoveries to that polished 
people." This Eastern origin is countenanced by the narration of 
an Arabic MS. described by M. de Guignes (Account of the French 
King's MSS., vol. i, p. 145), the title of which, "The Golden Mea- 
dows," seems to be borrowed from the " To mv Au/j-cava.? mv," a work of 
John Moschus, or from the writings intituled " An^cam," mentioned 
by Gellius in his preface. In this MS. the author, Masondi, relates 
that the sixth Pharaoh, who built the Alexandrian Pharos, put a 

* Bayle cites Francis Picus (lib. ii. de Prrenotione ap. Nande Apolog. des 
grands hommes, etc.) to show that Roger Bacon asserts one may become a prophet 
by means of the mirror Almuchesi, constructed by the rules of perspective ; pro- 
vided he uses it under a good constellation, and has first reduced his body equal 
and temperate by chemistry. 

44 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

looking-glass on the top, in which the country of Roum, the islands 
of the sea, together with all that passed among their inhabitants, and 
the vessels that arrived, might be seen. The same circumstance is 
mentioned by Abulfeda ; but here we have it related by a more ancient 
writer. It seems to have been referred to by Spenser (" Fairy 
Queen," b. iii., cant, ii., st. 18, 19, 20) : 

"The great magitian Merlin had deviz'd, 

By his deep science and hell-dreaded might, 
A looking-glasse, right wondrously aguiz'd, 

Whose vertues through the wyde worlde soone were solemniz'd. 

" It vertue had to show in perfect sight 

Whatever thing was in the world contaynd 
Betwixt the lowest earth and heven's hight, 

So that it to the looker appertaynd ; 

Whatever foe had wrought, or frend had faynd, 
Therein discovered was, ne aught mote pas, 

Ne aught in secret from the same remaynd ; 
Forthy it round and hollow shaped was. 
Like to the world itselfe, and seem'd a world of glas. 

"Who wonders not that reades so wonderous worke? 

But who does wonder, that has red the towre 
Wherein the /Egyptian Phao long did lurke 

From all men's vew, that none might her discoure 

Yet she might all men vew out of her bowre ? 
Great Ptolemee it for his leman's sake 

Ybuilded all of glasse by magicke powre." 

The description in the igth stanza of which corresponds remarkably 
with a passage of Langland's ("Piers Ploughman," pass, xi.): 

" In a mirrour hight miclle earth she made me to loke, 
Sithen she sayd to me, ' Here mightest thou se wonders.'" 

But Mr. Cowley seems to go somewhat too far when he extends it 
to the Supreme : 

" The thing thou sawst 
Shap'd in the^'/w of the divine foresight." 

Davideis, b. ii. v. 828. 

It is from this prevailing notion that Chaucer borrows one of the 
presents made by " the king of Arabic and of Inde" to Cambuscan, 
king of Tartarie, in his " Squiere's Tale," where, at vs. 10445, tne 
ambassador of the former says, in a passage which one may see that 
Spenser had read : 

" This mirrour eke that I have in min hond 
Hath swiche a might that men may in it see 
When ther shal falle ony adversitee 
Unto your regne or to yourself also, 
And openly who is your friend or fo : 
And over all this, if any lady bright 
Hath set hire herte on any maner wight, 
If he be fals she shal his treson se, 
His newe love, and all his subtiltee, 
So openly that there shal nothing hide." 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 45 

Milton, whose fervid imagination was copiously impregnated and 
nourished by the fictions of our ancient romances, had not forgotten 
this when he invokes Melancholy to 

" Call up him that left half-told 
The story of Cambuscan bold, 
Of Camball, and of Algarsife 
And who had Canace to wife, 
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass; 
And of the wondrous horse of brass 
On which the Tartar king did ride." 

This use of glasses is referred to by Shakespeare : 

" The law like a prophet, 

Looks in a glass, that shews what further evils 
Are now to have no successive degrees." 

Measure for Measure, act ii. sc. 2, 

vol. ii. (1785) p. 49; where (and at Macbeth, act iv. sc. I, vol. iv. sc. I, p. 593) 
see the notes ; also Geo. Sandys, Travels, p. 89. 

Mr. Barrington remarks (in his " Obs. on Anc. Stat.," p. i, note b.) 
that " the oldest book in the German law is intituled, ' Spiegel, or 
the Looking-glass;' which answers to our ' Mirrour of Justices.' One 
of the ancient Icelandic books is styled ' Speculum Regale.' There 
is also, in the Teutonic antiquities of Schrevelius, a collection of the 
ancient laws of Pomerania and Prussia under the title of ' Speculum.' " 
He observes, " that the same title being given to so many ancient 
law-books in different countries cannot be the effect of mere accident ;" 
and adds, in his fourth edition, that it "probably means that the 
points treated of are so inculcated that one may see them tanquam in 
specula." Mr. Warton, however (ubi supra), infers with greater pro- 
bability, that the use of this term, as a title for books, is derived from 
the Arabian use of mirrors in natural magic : and in confirmation of 
his supposition, we find an Arabian treatise intituled " The Mirror 
which reflects the World," ib., p. 407. And it was a very favourite 
title for books in the dark ages. Thus we have the " Sachsen Spiegel," 
or Speculum Saxonicum (Selden, "Tit. Hon.," pt. i., chap. i. sect. 25) ; 
the "Speculum Historiale," of Richard of Cirencester (Dr. Stukeley's 
account of him, p. 9), and of Vincentius Bellovacensis, or Vincent of 
Beavis ("Warton," vol. i., p. 133); the "Speculum Stultorum," of 
Nigel de Wircher, 1200 (ib., p. 419) ; the " Speculum Astrologiae" of 
Albert the Great ("Bayle, au Mot," not. F) ; our Lord Buckhurst's 
" Mirrour of Magistrates," and George Whetstone's English "Mirrour" 
(" Taller," new edit, vol. vl, p. 69) ; the "Speculum Juris of Duran- 
dus ; a musical treatise, intituled " Speculum Musicae," mentioned by 
Dr. Burney; the "Speculum Vitae Christi" ("Biograph. Britann." 
vol. Hi., p. 375) ; a German play, 1561, " De Spiegel der Minne 
(" Dodsley's Old Plays," vol. i., p. 32) ; and others mentioned by 
Warton (vol. ii., pp. 2, 10, 68, 170, 190, 193, 206, 408; vol. iii., p. 

46 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

216) ; the Abb de Sade (Vie de P^trarque, vol. ii., p. 179); and 
Whitaker ("Hist of Manchester," vol. i., p. 90). I will only add that 
the public book of accounts of the state debtors in Florence is called 
" II Specchio" ; that the magistrates of Haerlem preserve, with great 
care, a copy of Bp. Grosseteste's " Speculum Humanae Salvationis ;" 
and that, in the Bodleian Library, there is a German treatise on the 
game of chess, intituled " Scharch-spiel." 

From this magical use of glasses, Butler, referring to the magical 
use of stones (on which see Blackstone, "Comment.," b. iii., ch. 
xxii., p. 340 ; and Gibbon, " Hist. Decl.," ch. xxxiv., p. 14), says : 

' Kelly did all his feats upon 
The devil's looking-glass, a stone." 

Hudibras, part ii. canto 3, v. 631. 

On which lines I will cite part of Dr. Nash's note, as his edition is 
in few hands ; though I am sensible my digressions have already 
exceeded the just bounds of a note : " The poet might here term this 
stone the 'devil's looking-glass' from the use which Dee and Kelly 
made of it, and because it has been the common practice of conjurors 
to answer the enquiries of persons by representations shown, to them 
in a glass. Dr. Merick Casaubon quotes a passage to this purpose 
from a MS. of Roger Bacon,* inscribed, ' De Dictis et Factis fahorum 
Mathematicorum et Dtemonum.' The daemons sometimes appear to 
them really, sometimes imaginarily, in basons and polished things, 
and show them whatever they desire. Boys looking upon these sur- 
faces see, by imagination, things that have been stolen, to what places 
they have been carried, what persons took them away, and the like. 
In the Proaemium of Joachim Camerarius to Plutarch De Oraculis, 
we are told that a gentleman of Nuremberg had a crystal which had 
this singular virtue, viz., if anyone desired to know anything past or 
future, let a young man, castus, or who was not yet of age, look into 
it, he would first see a man so and so apparelled, and afterwards what 
he desired. We meet with a similar story in Heylin's " Hist, of Ref.," 
part iii. The Earl of Hertford, brother to Queen Jane, having 
formerly been employed in France, acquainted himself there with a 
learned man, who was supposed to have great skill in magiclc. To 
this person, by rewards and importunities, he applied for information 
concerning his affairs at home ; and his impertinent curiosity was so 
far gratified, that, by the help of some magical perspective, he beheld 
a gentleman in a more familiar posture with his wife than was con- 
sistent with the honour of either party. To this diabolical illusion he 
is said to have given so much credit, that he not only estranged him- 
self from her society at his return, but furnished a second wife with 

* Thus do 

" Unheard-of follies cheat us in the wise." 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 47 

an excellent reason for urging the disinherison* of his former chil- 
dren." Thus far Dr. Nash. 

Having thus endeavoured to trace the popular superstition of fairies 
in its origin, and having accompanied it in its progress, its decline 
and fall will be best described in the words of Sprat : " In the modern 
ages these fantastical forms were revived, and possessed Christendom 
in the very height of the schoolmen's time. An infinite number of 
fairies haunted every house ; all churches were filled with apparitions ; 
men began to be frighted from their cradles, which fright continued 
to their graves, and their names also were made the causes of scaring 
others. All which abuses, if those acute philosophers did not pro- 
mote, yet they were never able to overcome ; nay, not even so much 
as King Oberon and his invisible army. But from the time in which 
the real philosophy has appeared, there is scarce any whisper remain- 
ing of such horrors ; every man is unshaken at these tales, at which 
his ancestors trembled ; the course of things goes quietly along in its 
own true channel of natural causes and effects. For this we are 
beholden to experiments ; which, though they have not yet completed 
the discovery of the true world, yet they have already vanquished 
those wild inhabitants of the false worlds that used to astonish the 
minds of men. A blessing for which we ought to be thankful, if we 
remember that it is one of the greatest curses that God pronounces 
on the wicked, 'that they shall fear where no fear is.'" (" Hist, of the 
Royal Society," part iii., sect xii., p. 341.) 

Permit me to conclude this long, and to enliven this dull note, by 
recommending to the notice of your readers the following elegant 
translation of one of the prettiest poems on the subject of fairies ; in 
which the characteristic and appropriate levity of the original is very 
happily preserved. 

Eia ! Lemures amati, Come, follow, follow me, 

Viridem per herbam prati You, fairy elves that be : 

Levi gressu me divinam, Which circle on the greene, 

Me sequimini reginam : Come follow Mab your queene. 

Manus nexas glomorantes Hand in hand let's dance around, 

Sacro solo saltitantes. For this place is fairye ground. 

Horse somni cum revertunt, When mortals are at rest, 
Lactis et mortales stertunt, And snoring in their nest; 

Patet, clausis seris, iter, Unheard, and unespy'd, 

Nee videtur, nee auditur. Through key-holes we do glide ; 

Nee impediunt vagatores Over tables, stools, and shelves, 

Mensse, sells, scamna, fores. We trip it with our fairy elves. 

* In consequence of this absurd disinherison, it is not fifty years since the 
children of this first marriage succeeded to their rightful honours, the dukedom of 
Somerset, upon the death of the last male heir of the second marriage. 


Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

Signa fceda sint in cellis, 
Ollis, amphoris, patellis, 
Juvat famulas adire, 
Sorde turpes et punire. 
Brachia crura vellicamus, 
Cutes ungue variamus. 

Domus node sin profunda 
Scopis tersa, lauta, munda ; 
Non ancilla verrit gratis : 
Habet prsemium puritatis. 
In sandalio sic merenti, 
Stipem linquimus argenti. 

Super tuber, quasi mensam, 
Mappam tendimus extensam : 
Sat superque nostro pani 
Moles est unius grani : 
Mentes hilarat liquore 
Theca glandis plena rore. 

Dein medulla mollicella 
Murium, avium cerebella, 
Inter testulas coquenda, 
Dente facili terenda, 
Superabunt carnem bovis, 
Vel ambrosiam summi Jovis. 

Pulex, musca amans aulae, 
Et cicada, sunt choraulse, 
Quarum dulcem ad camcenam 
Saltum agimus post coenam : 
Lunam tectam noctiluca 
Supplet radiis domiduca. 

Graciles tripudiamus, 
Molle gramen nee curvamus : 
Pede festo quod calcatum, 
Choris noctu consecratum, 
Spica vernat altiore ; 
Lux cum redeat Aurora?. 

And, if the house be foul 
With platter, dish or bowl, 
Upstairs we nimbly creep, 
And find the sluts asleep : 

There we pinch their armes and 
thighes ; 

None escapes, nor none espies. 

But if the house be swept, 
And from uncleanness kept, 
We praise the household maid, 
And duely she is paid : 
For we use before we goe 
To drop a tester in her shoe. 

Upon a mushroome's head 
Our table-cloth we spread ; 
A grain of rye, or wheat, 
Is manchet, which we eat ; 
Pearly drops of dew we drink 
In acorn cups fill'd to the brink. 

The brains of nightingales, 
With unctuous fat of snailes, 
Between two cockles stew'd, 
Is meat that's easily chew'd ; 
Tailes of wormes and marrow of mice 
Do make a dish that's wonderous 

The grasshopper, gnat, and fly, 
Serve for our minstrelsie ; 
Grace said, we dance a while, 
And so the time beguile ; 
And if the moon doth hide her head, 
The gloe-worm lights us home to bed. 

On tops of dewie grasse 
So nimbly do we passe, 
The young and tender stalk 
Ne'er bends when we do walk : 
Yet in the morning may be seen 
Where we the night before have been. 

Relics of Ancient Poetry Fairies. 49 

A Fairy Tale. [See Note 3,] 

[1800, Prt //.,/. 667.] 

Sixteen years ago I ween, 

Tripping on the village green, 

Fairy elves, in circles gay, 

Sported till the blushing day. 

Tir'd at length, the supper spread 

On a little mushroom's head, 

Hid from ev'ry mortal eye, 

None their merry freaks could spy, 

None their mystic chat could hear, 

Nor disturb their social cheer ; 

Quoth the little monarch sprite 

(On a lofty daisy's height), 

" Let the frolic story pass, 

Let each toast his faithful lass." 

An acorn then he fill'd with dew ; 

" Consort Mab, I drink to you. 

List ! I hear a mortal's pray'r ; 

List ! ye guardians of the fair, 

A wedded female, chaste and mild, 

Asking for a duteous child. 

Now attend to my command ; 

Search the globe, air, ocean, land, 

Search each little flower that grows, 

Search each little stream that flows, 

Diving thro' the glassy waves, 

Search each shell that ocean laves, 

Hither in an instant bring 

All their virtues, hither bring^ 

These, when happily combin'd, 

Shall form the lovely offspring's mind." 

Quick the nimble elves were gone, 

Quick as thought the deed was done. 

Next morning dawn'd serenely fair, 

A daughter bless'd the mother's pray'r. 

This was then the fairies' song, 

As they led the dance along : 

" Lovely babe, thro' life's quick tide 

Virtue e'er shall be thy guide : 

Truth and honour, beauty rare, 

All combine to make thee fair ; 

Happy thrice, and thrice again, 

Happiest he of happy men, 


50 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

Long and happy be his life, 
Who shall win thee for his wife ; 
Endless pleasures crown the man 
Who shall win the lovely Anne." 

Song of the Fairies. [See Note 4.] 

[1814, Part II., p. 261.] 

Underneath the planet's beam, 

Which pale Hecate guides, 
We trip it o'er the silv'ry stream, 

Footing the salt tides : 
Here and there we sport and play, 
Laughing at the substant day, 
For Titania is our queen, 
And we are seldom seen. 

But, when lovers pass the seas, 

Under the cold moon, 
We, to do their spirits ease, 

Seek their pillows soon : 
Then we fill their minds, God wot, 
With a kiss, a smile, what not ? 
For so Titania bids, 
To bless their sleeping lids. 

With the moon in journey thus, 

Pendent on her pallid face, 
Night is pregnant joy to us, 

We the wat'ry circle trace : 
Sometimes dive into the deep, 
Sometimes on the moonbeam sleep, 
Sometimes soar on high, 
Where our queen bids us fly. 

Sparkling seas, and night we love, 
Swelling floods, and golden air, 
When the lover looks above, 

Delighting in despair : 
But to-morrow ne'er we know, 
For Aurora is our foe : 
The moon's brave children, we 
Away from Phosphor flee. 

The Trows of the Zetlancfers. 5 i 

The Trows of the Zetlanders. 

[1844, Part I., pp. 383-384-] 

At p. 155, vol. L, of the " Life of Sir Walter Scott," by Mr. Lock- 
hart, in one of the five very interesting journals kept by the poet on 
his " lighthouse tour," as he calls it, mention is made of the super- 
stitions of the Zetlanders. " Witches, fairies, etc.," he observes, " are 
as numerous as ever they were in Teviotdale." "The latter," he 
continues, " are called trows, probably from the Norwegian dwiirg 
(or dwarf), the d being readily converted into /. The dwarfs are the 
prime agents in the machinery of Norwegian superstition. The trows 
do not differ from the fairies of the Lowlands, or sighean of the High- 
landers. They steal children, dwell within the interior of green hills, 
and often carry mortals into their recesses. Some, yet alive, pretend 
to have been carried off in this way, and obtain credit for the marvels 
they tell of the subterranean habitations of the trows. Sometimes, 
when a person becomes melancholy and low-spirited, the trows are 
supposed to have stolen the real being and left a moving phantom 
to represent him. Sometimes they are said to steal only the heart, 
like Lancashire witches." 

Local superstitions are never matters of indifference to the poet or 
the philosopher, to the antiquary or historian, for they are at once 
elements and symbols of national character. No wonder, therefore, 
that they never escaped the attention of one who so pre-eminently 
united each of those characters in his own person. But my only 
object in citing the above passage is to venture another etymology 
for the word trow. 

I need scarcely observe that it is evidently too far removed from 
dwtirg or dodrg, for that to be the legitimate derivation. The fact is 
that the common word for demons and witches in the northern lan- 
guages is the very expression from which the Zetlanders have obtained 
their trows. Troll is the Swedish name for these imaginary beings, 
and trolla, the verb, is " to use witchcraft." Troll-packa is the Mac- 
bethian witch or sorceress, and trolldom the arts which she uses. The 
Laplanders have the same term. Trullet is with them to bewitch, 
and their enchanter or sorcerer is trulles almats, a man of witchery, 
which the Danes call a trold-karl* Trold, indeed, signifies with 
them any frightful or portentous being. But with the Icelanders the 
troll is the very giant or ogre who carries off men and children, and, 

* In the Swedish translation of the Heims Kringla, by Peringskiold, the word 
tralkarl and compounds of the word troll are used to express the sorcerer or magician 
and his arts. The corresponding term in the Icelandic for the former is Knuganmann 
and Seid-madur ("troldmand," Dan.). The Icelanders call the arts of sorcery 
fiblkyngi. I have just observed in an advertisement that the Sagas, called the 
Heims Kringla, have been translated by Mr. Laing, the intelligent traveller m 
Sweden, and will be published next week. [See Note 5.] 


52 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

for all we know, makes broth of them for their refectories within 
the green hills, or devours them. 

,Our word droll and the French word drdle are both, no doubt, 
from this source. Me'nage derives the latter from drauculus, the 
diminutive of draucus : " Ou plutot," he continues, " de tropulus, 
dans la signification d'un homme, qui fait le beau, qui se pique d'etre 
e'le'gant en la personne," etc. In the close, however, he mentions 
that M. de Caseneuve actually ascribed to it the very etymology 
which I have already affixed. 

Yours, etc., ARTHUR B. EVANS. 

Fairies of Scotland. 

[1832, Part If., p. 223.] 

In Scotland the fairies dwell under the little green hills ; and long 
after the Baron had ceased to legislate from the summit these airy 
inhabitants of the interior continued to influence the minds of the 

The Good People. 

[1818, Part II., p. 131.] 

The following remarkable instance of superstitious coincidence 
may, to some of your readers, appear not unworthy of notice : 

It is well known to every classical scholar that the ancient Greeks 
gave to the furies the name of Eumenides (the " good-natured, mild, 
or friendly goddesses ") from a superstitious dread of their malignity, 
and a wish to soothe and conciliate them by that flattering title ; and 
it is equally well known that the ancient Romans, for the same 
reason, thought it expedient to flatter the inhabitants of the other 
world, by giving to the spirits of the dead the appellation of Manes ; 
i.e., " the good people," from the antique word manis, good. 

I have now to add that, at the present day, and under similar 
impressions, the lower class of the Irish peasantry observe the same 
respectful caution in speaking of the fairies, whom they generally 
consider as malignant, mischievous beings, very different from those 
frolicsome, good-natured elves that perform so many kind offices 
for rustic maids who happen to be in favour with them. Such, then, 
being the disposition of the Irish fairies, it is thought prudent to 
keep on good terms with them ; and, with a view to this, they are 
usually designated by the flattering title of " the good people " a 
title deemed so indispensable that, if a child should inadvertently 
mention them by the simple name of "fairies," he would be as 
quickly and anxiously reprimanded, as if speaking treason in the 
hearing of a magistrate. JOHN CAREY. 

The Good People. 53 

[1818, /V* //.,/. 328.] 

To that specimen of superstitious coincidence, which I pointed 
out in your Magazine for August, p. 131, allow me to add another, 
equally striking. 

Among the less enlightened portion of the Irish population, if a 
person, describing a hurt or wound, should, with the view of illus- 
trating his verbal description, happen to touch the corresponding 
part of his own or another person's body, that touch is fearfully 
noticed, as ominous of ill, and a sure precursor of similar mischief 
to the person and the part so touched, unless the narrator, or some 
other individual present, be careful immediately to subjoin, " God 
bless the mark !" or " God save the mark !" which prayer avails as a 
charm, to avert the dreaded disaster. 

An exactly similar superstition prevailed among the ancient Romans, 
as we learn from a passage in " Petron;_ri," where Trimalchio relates 
a marvellous adventure, in which a man thrust his sword through the 
body of a sorceress. 

In describing the exploit, Trimalchio (as it appears) points out on 
his own person the very place of the wound, by laying his hand to 
the part; whereupon he immediately exclaims : "Salvum sit, quod 
tango !" " Safe be what I touch !" exactly equivalent to the Irish 
" God bless [or " God save] the mark !" 

For the satisfaction of those among your readers who have not an 
opportunity of consulting the original text of " Petronius," I here 
transcribe the passage : " Mulierem, tamquam hoc loco (salvum sit, 
quod tango /) mediam trajecit." 

Let me add, with respect to the Irish superstition, that the touch, 
in those cases, is deemed to possess equally malign influence, 
whether applied to the naked body itself, or to the garment covering 
the part : and the Roman idea seems to have been precisely the 
same ; as we can hardly presume that Trimalchio exposed his naked 
person ; since we do not find such circumstance mentioned by Petro- 
nius, who would not have failed to notice it, if it had taken place. 


The Gabriel Hounds. 

[1866, Part //.,/. 189.] 

Mr. Hylten Cavallius, in Sweden, connects the cry of the migrating 
wild geese (Anser Cinereusdler Amer Leucopsis) with the Wild Hunts- 
man legend ("Odens jagt"). Mr. Yarrell, in England, states that it is 
the Bean goose (Anser segetum), whose cry, more or less resembling 
the noise of a pack of hounds in the air, has given rise to the super- 
stition of the "Gabriel Hounds;" and in Wordsworth's lines, "Gabriel's 
Hounds" are : 

" Doomed, with their impious lord, the flying hart 
To chase for ever through aerial grounds." 

Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

I cannot ascertain the origin of this name, which is one of great 
antiquity. Mr. Way, in the appendix to his edition of " Promptorium 
Parvulorum," describes " a venerable relic of mediaeval learning" 
namely, a MS. English-Latin dictionary, entitled " Catholicon in 
Lingua Maternal" and in this M.S. the entry "Gabriell Rache, hie 
carnation," is met with. But camalion seems as hard to explain or 
account for as Gabriel, or Gabriell. Possibly some of your readers 
may be able to throw a little light upon the subject. 

Holland, the Sheffield poet, speaking of the "Gabriel Hounds" 
and their startling cry, says that in 

" These strange, unearthly, and mysterious sounds, 
The trembling villager not seldom heard 
In the quaint notes of the nocturnal l>ird, 
Of death premonished, some sick neighbour's knell." 

So also, in the " Leeds Glossary," Gabble Ratches are said to be 
" night-birds, whose notes are supposed to be ominous of death ;" 
and, according to another authority, in the same district, " these aerial 
visitors assume another name and character. They are called ' gabble 
retchet,' and are held to be the souls of unbaptized infants, doomed 
restlessly to flit around their parents' abode." 

Here, in Cleveland, the name is sounded Gaabr'l ratchet, which 
probably may be simply a phonetic form of Gabriel ratchet ; but what 
is remarkable is, that the superstition connected with the name is 
two-formed. The Gaabr'l ratchet is either the nocturnal sound re- 
sembling the cry of hounds, and betokening death in the house near 
which it is heard, or to some friend or connection of the hearer ; or, 
it is a mysterious single bird, which shows itself, as well as utters its 
mournful and startling cry, or rather shriek, before some friend of a 
person whose death is nearly approaching. I have quite recently 
conversed with persons whose faith and whose good faith it was 
equally impossible to doubt who declare that they have seen the 
bird ; and add to the statement the further one, that in each case the 
death of such and such a neighbour or relation followed closely after. 

The specially remarkable part is this : that Danish Helrakke, coin- 
cident in its latter member with our Gabriel ratch, or ratchet O.E., 
rack, ratcfie, bracket, etc. (a hunting-dog, a hound) ; Ttxnrakke, O.N., 
racki (the same) is also coincident in this twofold signification. 
Molbech, in his " Glossary of Archaic Danish Words," gives Uelnikke, 
from " Moth's Dictionary," as signifying a bird, " with a huge head, 
staring eyes, crooked beak, grey plumage, sharp claws, of which it 
was held, in old days, that its appearance always heralded great mor- 
tality. On such occasions it was wont to fly abroad by night and 
bhriek." Thiele, however, in his " Popular Superstitions of the 
Danes," quotes Helrakker as "a certain sound in the air, resembling 
that of hounds in full cry ; which, when it is heard, is a forerunner of 
death and ruin." Now, the prefix in the word Helrakke is clear 

The Gabriel Hounds. 55 

enough ; it is simply, as Molbech writes it, " the ancient Northern 
name of Death and the Goddess of Death," and is met with, more- 
over, in Beowulf. We find it also in the Jutland hel-heste and hel- 
hunde, both of which, in an overtrow scarcely yet extinct, are har- 
bingers of death, and the latter of which is precisely coincident in 
sense with hel-rakke. 

Of course the connection is with Odin's Hounds Odens hundar, 
of Swedish folk-lore the hounds, black, long-tongued, and fire-eyed, 
which always accompany the infernal hunt ; and the Leeds notion 
about the unbaptized babies is doubly interesting, as forming another 
link of connection with the "Wild Huntsman" legend ("Grimm's 
D.-M.," p. 870). But when Hackelberend, Hackelberg, Berchtold, 
Echhart, Dieterichs von Bern, Konig Abel,Waldemar, Palnejager, Karle- 
quinte or Hellequin, Arthur, Herne the Hunter, One handed Boughton, 
O'Donoghue, the Earl of Kildare, etc., etc, all admit of identification 
more or less satisfactory or conclusive, Gabriel or Gabriell stands 
almost by itself ; or, in other words, is associated with no distinct 
person or legend of crime or sorrow. Certainly, I find among the 
Cleveland traditions one that the Gabriel ratchet originates in a gen- 
tleman of the olden times, who was so strangely fond of hunting that, 
on his deathbed, he ordered his hounds all to be killed and buried at 
the same time and in the same tomb with himself; a tradition inter- 
esting enough from its coincidence with some of the ^German forms. 
But still the name Gabriel is not connected with this inveterate sports- 
man. It is barely possible that the word camalion might give some 
clue. It should be mediaeval Latin by its form. Can any of the 
readers of the Gentleman's Magazine throw any light either on 
" Gabriel" or " camalion ?" [See Note 6. J 

I am, etc., J. C. ATKINSON. 

Origin of " Old Nick." 

[1777, /A 9, 12-] 

Nobody has accounted for the Devil's having the name of "Old 
Nifk." Keysler, "De Dea Nehaleunia," p. 33, and " Antiq. Septentr.," 
p. 261, mentions a deity of the waters worshipped by the antient 
Germans and Danes under the name of "Noaa" or "Nicken," styled 
in the Edda, "Nikur," which he derives from the German nugen, 
answering to the Latin necare. Wormius, " Mon. Dan.," p. 17, says 
the redness in the faces of drowned persons was ascribed to this deity 
sucking their blood out at their nostrils. Wasthovius ("Pref. ad Vit. 
Sanctor.") and Loccenius ("Antiq. Sueo-Goth.," p. 17) call him 
" Neccus," and quote, from a Belgo-Gallic Dictionary, " Neccer" 
"Sptritus Aquaticus" and " Necce, necare." The Islandic Diet., in 
Hickes' Thes., p. iii., p. 85, renders " Nikur. bellua aquatica." 
Lastly, Rudbekius, " Atlant.," p. i, c. vii., S 5, P- J 9 2 J an( i c. xxx., 

56 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

p. 719, mentions a notion prevalent among his countrymen, that 
Neckur, who governed the sea, assumed the form of various animals, 
or of a horseman, or of a man in a boat. He supposes him the same 
with Odin ; but the above authorities are sufficient to evince that he 
was the Northern Neptune, or some subordinate sea-god of a noxious 
disposition. Wormius queries whether a figure said to be seen, 1615, 
on the river Lan, and called " Wasser Nichts" might not be of this 
kind. Probably it was a sea-monster, of the species called "Mermen" 
and by our Spenser, "Fairy-Queen," ii., 12, 24 : 

" The griesly Wasserman." 

It is not unlikely but the name of this evil spirit might, as 
Christianity prevailed in these Northern nations, be transferred to 
the father of evil. 

If it would not be thought punning on names, I would hazard 
another conjecture. St. Nicholas was the patron of mariners, con- 
sequently opponent to Nicker. How he came by this office does not 
appear. The legend says : " Ung jour que aucuns mariniers peris- 
soyent si le prierent ainsi a larmes, Nicolas, serviteur de Dieu, si les 
choses sont vrayes que nous avons ouyes, si les esprouve maintenant. 
Et tantot ung homme s'apparut at la semblance de luy, et leur dit, 
Veez moy, se ne m'appellez vous pas; et leur commenca a leur ayaer 
en leur exploit : de la ne set tantost la tempestate cessa. Et quant 
its furent venus a son Eglise ilz se cogneurent sans demonstrer, et si 
ne 1'avoient oncques veu. Et lors rendirent graces a Dieu et a luy de 
leur delivrance; et il leur dit que ilz attribuassent a la misericorde de 
Dieu et a leur creance, et non pas a ses merites." Then follow other 
miracles, not peculiarly appropriated to him under this character. 
[See /i?.!/ pp. 68-70.] We have afterwards, indeed, another story of his 
delivering from an illusion of the Devil certain pilgrims gut alloient a 
luy a nage, which I understand to mean only by water (" Legende 
d'or," fol. viii. ; see also, Blomefield's " Hist, of Norfolk," ii., p. 861.) 


[1777. / 439-] 

In p. 119 of your present volume we are told that "nobody has 
accounted for the devil's having the name of 'Old Nick."' Had 
your correspondent consulted Junius's " Etymologicum Anglicanum," 
he might have observed that Mr. Lye, the learned editor, had pre- 
viously made use of Olaus Wormius for the explanation of that name. 
Dr. Zachary Grey has also accounted for the name in a note on 
Part III., canto i., verse 1314, of Hudibras. [See Note 7.] 

A Popular Superstition Elucidated. 57 

A Popular Superstition Elucidated. 

[1813, Part II., p. 23.] 

" Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, 
And win the key-stane of the brig ; 
There at them thou thy tail may toss, 
A running stream they dare na cross." BURNS. 

Superstitions, be their forms ever so varied, may generally be traced 
to have originated in some truth, which, at the time, either being not 
known, or probably not noticed, left an erroneous impression, which, 
passing from mind to mind, enlarged, like a snowball, as it went, and 
collected the rubbish of every mind it passed through, till at last it 
stood an object of terror to the ignorant, or a mass for the poet's 
fancy to form into what shape he pleased. I am fond of tracing these 
hobgoblins to their holes ; and though I do not always unkennel 
them, I often spring information not unamusing, nor always unuseful 
to the mind By the verses above quoted, from that true poet Burns's 
most admirable tale of " Tarn o' Shanter," as well as from various other 
documents, we learn that it is the opinion of the vulgar in Scotland 
that witches and goblins cannot cross a running stream. Some nights 
ago, as crossing the busy little stream of the Morda, near its uniting 
with the Vyrnwy, I observed a very perfect ignis fatuus (Will o' the 
Wisp) coming along the meadows toward the river. The night was 
fine and calm, and I paused on the bridge to watch it. Slowly gliding, 
and very near the ground, it reached the edge of the stream, and 
instantly started back a yard or more, somewhat agitated ; but soon 
approached the stream again, and was again repulsed : it then repeat- 
edly attempted lower ; but, unable to cross, glided down the meadows 
on the same side of the stream, and I soon lost sight of it among 
some thick alder-bushes. I repeated, almost involuntarily, the above 
verses of Burns ; and it reasonably struck me, that some honest Scot, 
returning half seas over from the ale-house ingle, might have seen a 
similar appearance, and either not knowing or not noticing its cause, 
and being primed both with ale and credulity, might have kindled 
another ignis fatuus among those already flitting in the fields of super- 
stition. The cause of its not being able to cross the stream arose, 
probably, from the brisk current of air that needs must accompany 
running water. Our justly popular poet has dexterously adopted this 
opinion in his first, and perhaps best, poem, the "Lay of the Last 
Minstrel," where the Goblin Page dares not cross the running stream. 
Yours, etc., JOHN F. M. DOVASTON. 

Will o' the Wisp. 

[1806, Part II., p. 1000.] 

While walking in the garden a few evenings ago, I observed a pale 
white spark of fire hovering about the tops of the plants, particularly 

58 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

the evening primrose, and darting from plant to plant. It had some 
resemblance to what the country people call, " Will-with-the-wisp," or 
" Jack-a-lantern," which is so common in marshy grounds in some 
parts of England. But it differed in this respect ; the " Will-with- 
a-wisp" usually seems to run along on the ground ; whereas this that 
I speak of, flew from plant to plant, and never came near to the 
ground. On the evening on which I observed it, the sky was clear, 
the stars shone very bright, and there was a strong dew on the ground. 
I saw several meteors, or " falling stars," as they are vulgarly called, 
the same evening ; and I think it highly probable the above pheno- 
menon may be attributed to electricity. 

Yours, etc, S. R. 

Devil's Jumps at Thursley. 

[1799, Part II., p. 921.] 

Thursley, or Thirsley, is an extensive parish in the county of Surrey 
and hundred of Godalming. The village is mean and straggling, 
standing in a dry, healthy situation, pleasant in summer, but, from its 
high, unsheltered situation, exposed to the north-east winds, very cold 
in winter. On the heaths between Thursley and Frinsham are three 
remarkable conic-shaped hills, called the " Devil's Three Jumps," the 
eastern hill (or jump) being the largest in circumference and height, 
the centre hill the least and lowest. They are composed of a hard 
rock, barely covered with a light black mould, which gives a scanty 
nourishment to moss and stunted heath. Their bases are nearly 
surrounded by a foss, which in some places appears to be artificial. 
In the fosses are constant springs of water, which assist in forming 
near them a large piece of water called Abbot's Pond, formerly part 
of the possessions of the neighbouring abbey of Waverly. The 
country people, particularly the aged, relate many tales of these 
eminences, and hold them in a kind of awful reverence (the revels of 
the fairies yet linger in the tales of the aged rustick). It was formerly 
customary for the country-people on Whit-Tuesday to assemble on 
the top of the eastern hill to dance and make merry. If I might be 
permitted to risk a conjecture on the probable etymology of the name 
of the parish, Thursley, or Thirsley, that is, Thir's field, this spot 
was formerly dedicated to the Saxon god Thir, and his image was 
erected on the eastern eminence. On the introduction of Christianity, 
it is reasonable to suppose it acquired its present name from having 
been appropriated to the service of an heathen idol. These circum- 
stances may have given rise to the legendary tales and awe for the 
spot, which is now scarcely erased from the memory of the neighbour- 
ing villagers. 


Fairy Toot. 59 

Fairy Toot. 

[1801, Part I., p. 517.] 

The Fairy Toot is thus described by Mr. Collinson, " History of 
Somersetshire," vol. ii., p. 318 : 

" In Nemnet parish, but on the borders of that of Butcombe, and 
at a small distance eastwards from that parish-church, stands a large 
tumulus, or barrow, 60 yards in length, 20 in breadth, and 15 in 
height, and covered on its top with ash-trees, briars, and thick shrubs. 
On opening it some time ago, its composition throughout was found 
to be a mass of stones, supported on each side, sideways, by a wall of 
thin stakes. The distance between the two walls is about 8 feet, 
and the intermediate space is filled up with two rows of cells, or 
cavities, formed by very large stones set edgeways. These cells, the 
entrance into which is at the south end, run in a direction from north 
to south, and are divided from each other by vast stones placed on 
their edges, and covered with others still larger by way of architrave. 
In one of them were found seven skulls, one quite perfect ; in another, 
a vast heap of small human bones and horses' teeth. All the cells are 
not yet opened ; and as no coins or any other reliques but the above- 
mentioned have yet been discovered, it cannot be ascertained at what 
period this receptacle of mortality was constructed ; however, it un- 
doubtedly is one of the noblest sepulchres of the kind in Great 
Britain, and probably contains the fragments of many brave chief- 
tains, whom some fatal battle near the spot forbade to revisit their 
native country. The field in which this barrow stands has, from time 
immemorial, been called the ' Fairy-field ;' and the common people 
say, that strange noises have been heard underneath the hill, and 
visions, portentous to children, have been seen waving in the thickets 
which crown its summit." 

Fairy Rings. 

[1788, Part f.,ff. 129, 130.] 

As I walked over my pastures the other day, I was much struck 
with the singular verdure that appeared in two or three parts of the 
ground ; and what added still more to claim my observation, was the 
peculiarity of its form, which was precisely semicircular, with a base 
of about four yards, and the curve about half-a-yard in thickness. 
Having ruminated on this phenomenon, it occurred to me that I had 
observed these particular parts to have been very prolific of mush- 
rooms or frogstools in the autumn. That these funguses should 
putrify and manure the ground seems not extraordinary ; but whence 
or by what cause they should be produced in this artful form, may 
be worthy the researches of the curious. 

I have since learned that these figures in the grass are not un- 

60 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

common in the country, and are vulgarly called the " Fairy's Ring." 
If your learned correspondents can give me any light into this matter, 
the favour will be gratefully acknowledged by yours, etc, 


[1790, Part II., p. 710.] 

In a meadow at the back of my house there are several circles of 
about six or eight inches broad, and from six to twelve feet diameter, 
at this time of the year particularly, very perceptible ; they bear great 
quantities of the fungus called champignons. These circles are by the 
vulgar called " Fairy Rings." The commonly received opinion is that 
they are the nightly resort of those imaginary beings which all argument 
is ineffectual to remove. Indeed, it is not much to be wondered at 
that the illiterate should be so grossly superstitious, which tradition 
has for ages handed down to them ; even our great dramatic bard 
gave in to the opinion, or countenanced it, in various parts of his 

That there are such rings in many parts of the kingdom, is 
undoubted ; but the cause remains obscured in the midst of cre- 
dulity. In general, their forms are truly circular; how doth this 
happen by natural causes ? The meadow above alluded to has been 
in tlie same state full twenty years, except once ploughed about nine- 
teen years ago, during which whole time there has been no alteration 
in the rings. Cattle are turned in every year. Will any one say the 
circles are occasioned by their staling or dung ? No one, surely, will 
be so hardy as to assert they have seen cows, etc , turning round at 
the time they perform those offices ! 

The remaining question is, What is the cause ? A rational explana- 
tion from some of your correspondents who may think the subject 
worthy their notice, would give much satisfaction to many who have 
conversed with me concerning them ; to none more than, 

[See Note 8.] Yours, etc., J. M. 

[This inquiry was followed by a long correspondence extending 
over ten years, and which it is only necessary to summarize here : 
1790, part ii., pp. 800-801 "T. Eeles" writes from Norbiton, that the 
rings are occasioned by the staling and dung of horses, etc. 1790, 
part ii., p. 1007 "Tho. Leybourn " refers to Priestley's "Present State 
of Electricity," where they are explained as arising from lightning. 
1790, part ii., pp. 1072-1073 "A Farmer" suggests that moles pro- 
duce them. 1790, part ii., p. 1106, "B." produces proofs of their 
origin from lightning. 1790, part ii., p. 1180 " C." suggests they are 
trenches built by ancient Britons. 1791, part i., pp. 36-39 " J. G." 
contributes a paper on " Hints towards the Natural History of Fairy 
Rings." 1791, part ii., p. 728 "P. Q." and "N. Crocker" write. 

Midsummer- Eve Appearances. 61 

1791, part ii., pp. 1085-1088 "A Southern Faunist" gives a 
"Recapitulation of the Various Opinions on Fairy Rings." 1791, 
part ii., p. 1206, "G. M." writes. 1792, part i., p. 43 "J. P. 
Malcolm" writes about their occurrence in the meadows between 
Islington and Canonbury. 1792, part i., pp. 103-104, is a letter 
signed "E." 1792, part i., pp. 209-211 "A.Crocker" contributes 
" Remarks on the Various Opinions of Fairy Rings." 1792, part i., 
pp. 524-525 "John Middleton" and "J. W." write on ''Fairy kings 
naturally accounted for." 1793, part ii., pp. 906-907 "F. M.E.S." 
writes. 1794, part i., p. 219 " Sigla" writes that there are Fairy 
Rings to be seen at the South Bastion at Portsmouth. 1798, part 
ii., p. 661 "Z. Cozens" gives examples. 1798, part ii., p. 752 
" R. O." gives examples.] 

Midsummer-Eve Appearances. 

[1747, /. 524.] 

On Midsummer-eve, 1735, Wm. Lancaster's servant related that he 
saw the east side of Souter fell, towards the top, covered with a regular 
marching army for above an hour together ; he said they consisted of 
distinct bodies of troops, which appeared to proceed from an eminence 
in the north end, and marched over a nitch in the top, but, as no 
other person in the neighbourhood had seen the like, he was dis- 
credited and laughed at. Two years after, on Midsummer-eve also, 
betwixt the hours of eight and nine, Wm. Lancaster himself imagined 
that several gentlemen were following their horses at a distance, as if 
they had been hunting, and, taking them for such, pay'd no regard to 
it till about ten minutes after ; again turning his head towards the 
place, they appeared to be mounted, and a vast army following, five 
in rank, crowding over at the same place, where the servant said he 
saw them two years before. He then called his family, who all agreed 
in the same opinion, and, what was most extraordinary, he frequently 
observed that some one of the five would quit rank and seem to stand 
in a fronting posture, as if he was observing and regulating the order 
of their march, or taking account of the numbers, and after some 
time appeared to return full gallop to the station he had left, which 
they never failed to do as often as they quitted their lines, and the 
figure that did so was generally one of the middlemost men in the 
rank. As it grew later, they seemed more regardless of discipline, 
and rather had the appearance of people riding from a market than 
an army, though they continued crowding on and marching off as 
long as they had light to see them. 

This phsenomenon was no more seen till the Midsummer-eve 
which preceded the rebellion, when they were determined to call 
more families to be witness of this sight, and accordingly went to 
Wilton-hill and Souter-fell-side, till they convened about twenty- 

62 Fairy Beliefs, Etc. 

six persons, who all affirmed they then saw the same appearance, but 
not conducted with the usual regularity as the preceding ones, having 
the likeness of carriages interspersed ; however, it did not appear to 
be less real, for some of the company were so affected with it as in 
the morning to climb the mountain, through an idle expectation of 
finding horse-shoes after so numerous an army, but they saw not the 
vestige or print of a foot. 

Wm. Lancaster, indeed, told me that he never concluded they were 
real beings, because of the impracticability of a march over the pre- 
cipices, where they seemed to come on ; that the night was extremely 
serene ; that horse and man, upon strict looking at, appeared to be 
but one being rather than two distinct ones ; that they were nothing 
like any clouds or vapours which he had ever perceived elsewhere ; 
that their number was incredible, for they filled lengthways near half 
a mile, and continued so in a swift march for above an hour, and 
much longer he thinks if night had kept off. 

This whole story has so much the air of a romance, that it seemed 
fitter for " Amadis de Gaul" or Glanville's " System of Witches" than 
the repository of the learned ; but as the country was full of it, I only 
give it verbatim from the original relation of a people that could have 
no end in imposing on their fellow-creatures, and are of good repute 
in the place where they live. 

It is my real opinion that they apprehended they saw such appear- 
ances, but how an undulating lambent meteor could affect the optics 
of so many people is difficult to say. No doubt fancy will extend to 
miraculous heights in persons disposed to indulge it ; and whether 
there might not be a concurrence of that, to assist the vapour, I will 
not dispute, because difficulties seem to occur worthy of solution.* 

* To this relation we may add that in the spring of the year 1707, early in a 
serene still morning, was observed by two persons, one of the name of Churchill, 
who were walking from one village to another in Leicestershire, a like appearance 
of an army marching along, till going behind a great hill, it disappeared. The 
forms of pikes and carbines were distinguishable ; the march was not entirely in 
one direction, but was at the first like the junction of two armies, and the 
meeting of generals. 

Legends and Traditions. 


St. Blase, Patron of Wool-Combers. 

[1773, Part I., p. 384.] 

I HAVE been often asked about St. Blase,* and his being the 
inventor of wool-combing, or, at least, the patron of that art. 
Little, however, can I find to satisfaction ; but what I can learn of 
him, I shall freely impart to you, nevertheless, Mr. Urban, for the 
information of the querists, and in hopes that those who know more 
of this vulgar saint may be induced to give us some further account 
of him, and, in particular, of his connection with the wool-combers. 

Blase was a Bishop and Martyr ; and his see, according to the 
" Breviary," was Sebasta, orSebask, in Cappadocia.t He is a person 
of great note amongst the vulgar, who in their processions, as relative 
to the wool-trade, always carry an effigy or representation of him, 
as the inventor or patron of their art of combing it. There was an 
order of knighthood also instituted in honour of him;J and his 
day, which stands marked at this day in our Calendar, was celebrated 
3rd February. He suffered death in the reign of Dioclesian, about 
the year 283, according to the"Legenda Aurea,"but the English version 
of that book has 387 ; neither of the, dates are strictly true, since 
Dioclesian did not succeed to the empire till A. 284, and died before 
the latter date. Indeed, authors vary much about the time of 
his death. Before his death, which was by decapitation, he was 
whipped, and had his flesh torn, ferrets prciinibus, with iron combs. 

'Tis difficult to say from this account of the Saint, which yet is the 
best I can procure of him, how Blase comes to be esteemed the 
patron of the wool-combers. And when he died, his prayer to our 

* He is written also Blasus, and Blaize, or Blaise, In the " Aurea Legends " 
there are two etymons of the name, both of them ridiculous. " Aurea Legenda," 
cap. 38. 

t See also the "Aurea Legenda." Others reckon him patron of Armenia ; see 
Collier's Dictionary, v. Blaise and Beda, in Martyrologio, p. 340. 

I Collier's Dictionary in voce. 

Annot. ad Bedae Martyrologium. 

VOL. IV. 5 

66 Legends and Traditions. 

Lord was, as the "Golden Legend" has it in the English version, "That 
whosomever desired hys helpe fro thyinfyrmyte of the throte,* or 
requyred ayde for any other sekenes or infyrmyte, that he wold 
here hym, and myght deserve to be guarisshyd and heled.f And 
ther cam a voys fro Hevene to hym sayeng that hys peticion was 
graunted and shold be doon as he had prayd"J In which 
prayer, there is not a word, you observe, that concerns the wool- 
combers. Yours, etc., T. Row. 

Saint Cecilia. 

[1783, Fart II. , pp. 635, 636.] 

Saint Cecilia, among Christians, is esteemed the patroness of music; 
for the reasons whereof we must refer to her history, as delivered by 
the notaries of the Roman Church, and from them transcribed into 
the Golden Legend, and other books of the like kind. The story 
says, that she was a Roman lady, born of noble parents, about the 
year 225. That, notwithstanding she had been converted to Chris- 
tianity, her parents married her to a young Roman nobleman, named 
Valerianus, a pagan, who, going to bed to her on the wedding-night, 
as the custom is, says the book, was given to understand by his spouse 
that she was nightly visited by an angel, and that he must forbear to 
approach her, otherwise the angel would destroy him. Valerianus, 
somewhat troubled at these words, desired he might see his rival the 
angel ; but his spouse told him that was impossible, unless he would 
be baptized, and become a Christian, which he consented to : after 
which, returning to his wife, he found her in her closet at prayer ; and 
by her side, in the shape of a beautiful young man, the angel clothed 
in brightness. After some conversation with the angel, Valerianus 
told him that he had a brother, named Tiburtius, whom he greatly 
wished to see a partaker of the grace which he himself had received : 
the angel told him, that his desire was granted, and that shortly they 
should both be crowned with martyrdom. Upon this the angel van- 
ished, but soon after showed himself as good as his word : Tiburtius 
was converted, and both he and his brother Valerianus were be- 
headed. Cecilia was offered her life upon condition that she would 
sacrifice to the deities of the Romans, but she refused ; upon which 
she was thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, and scalded to 
death : though others say she was stifled in a dry bath, i.e., an in- 
closure from whence the air was excluded, having a slow fire under- 

* He had cured a boy that had got a fish-bone in his throat, " Golden Legend ;" 
and was particularly invoked by the Papists in the squinancy or quinsy. "Fabric. 
Bibliogr. Antiq.," p. 267. 

t So he was one of the 14 Saints for diseases in general. " Fabric. Bibliogr. 
Antiq.," p. 266. 

t " Golden Legend," fol. 135. 

St. Cecilia. St. George. 67 

neath it ; which kind of death was sometimes inflicted among the 
Romans upon women of quality who were criminals. See the second 
Nonne's Tale in Chaucer, the Golden Legend, printed by Caxton, 
and the Lives of Saints by Peter Ribadeneyra, priest of the Society 
of Jesus. Printed at St. Omer's in 1699. 

Upon the spot where her house stood, is a church, said to have 
been built by Pope Urban I., who administered baptism to her hus- 
band and his brother : it is the church of St Cecilia in Trastevere. 
Within is a most cuiious painting of the saint, as also a most stately 
monument, with a cumbent statue of her, with her face downwards 
[an illustration accompanies this description]. 

St. Cecilia is usually painted playing either on the organ or on the 
harp, singing, as Chaucer relates, thus : 

" And whiles that the organs made melodies, 

To God alone thus in her herte song she, 
O Lorde my soul and eke my body gie 
Unwemmed lest I confounded be. 

Besides this account there is a tradition of St. Cecilia, that she 
excelled in music, and that the angel, who was thus enamoured of 
her, was drawn down from the celestial mansions by the charms of 
her melody ; this has been deemed authority sufficient for making her 
the patroness of music and musicians. 

St. George. 

[1806, Part I., p. 431.] 

It may be of little consequence to many of your readers, whether 
the Patron Saint of England was a Jew, Turk, or Infidel. But I 
remetaber about a year ago, that great pains were taken to prove, in 
the London papers, that he was George the Arnian, a very worthless 
character. I am therefore induced to refer the public, and such as 
are fond of truth in particular, to Doctor Sayer's " Miscellanies, 
Antiquarian and Historical ; " the professed tendency of which is, 
" to refute improbable conjecture, to elicit obscured truth, and recall 
attention to some neglected but instructive inquiry." In those 
elegant and learned papers, the doctor has shown, that our tutelary 
Saint was St. George of the East ; and, " totally disregarding any 
miraculous particulars related of him," draws this conclusion from 
authorities, which he has given, " That he was a Saint of high repute 
in the Eastern Church at a very early period : that he was a Capado- 
cian of a good family, a Commander of note in the time of Diocletian; 
and that, after obtaining the honourable title of Count, he finally 
suffered martyrdom on the 23rd of April, on which day his festival 
is still kept." The paper concludes with the translation of a Franco- 
theotish Fragment, from the Vatican MS. of Otfrid's Francish 
Gospels, composed before the middle of the fourth century. 

Yours, etc., S. W. 

s ^ 

68 Legends and Traditions. 

[1800, Part II., p. 735.] 

In Dr. Bulleyne's " Dialogue both pleausaunte and pitieful, wherin 
is a goodlie Regiment against Fever, Pestilence, etc.," 1564, 1569, 
8vo., is introduced a conversation between a citizen and his wife, and 
their man Roger, retiring from the city to Barnet, the birth-place of 
the latter, who tells them the adventures of his grandfather, who was 
a leader of a band of tall men, under the Earl of Warwick, at the 
battle of Barnet, 1471, the night before which he stole from the camp, 
and hid himself for a whole month in a great hollow oak, whence he 
escaped without danger. In memory of which "his harness was 
worn upon St. Georges back in their church many a cold winter after ; 
a piece of secret history not to be found in the Chronicles." This 
servant's brother's name was John Penington, apothecary, in Wood 
Street. This extract is from the art. BULLEYN, Biog. Brit. ii. 1027 
[E], ist edit. The circumstance of armour worn on St. George's pack, 
not noticed by any of our antiquaries, I never could understand till, 
accidentally reading an abstract of the old French romance of " Petit 
Jean de SaintreY' reduced into modern language and sentiment by M. 
de Tressan, and printed by Didot, 1791, izmo., I found that when 
Saintre', intending to revenge himself of the abbot who had foiled him 
in wrestling, produced two suits of armour, and offered him his 
choice, the abbot is made to say, " I recollect having in my church a 
great old St. George, all broken, and half covered with rusty armour. 
If M. Saintre will put me to the trial, on condition of giving me this 
suit of armour, I will endeavour to win it, in order to restore my St 
George to his former honour*," p. 284. Nothing like this appears in 
the English edition of this romance by Treppesel, black-letter, 410., 
without date ; nor in that of Paris, 1724, 3 vols., I2mo., iii., pp. 654, 
655. [See Note 9.] 

St. Nicholas. 

['777, /A 157- 158.] 

The very ingenious writer of " Observations in a Journey to Paris, 
in Aug. 1776," just now published in 2 vols., 8vo., at p. 122 of vol. 2, 
begs to be informed, through the channel of your Magazine, who is 
the Saint whose emblems are two naked children in a bathing-tub, 
and what these circumstances allude to ? 

The Saint, no doubt, is St. Nicheks, Archbishop of Mira in Lycia, 
of whom I have a very large and fine French print, with the children 
and tub before him. I have also in .my possession an Italian Life of 
this Saint, on the title-page of which 410. book is the same picture : 
it is thus intituled, " Historia della Vita, Miracoli, Traslatione, e 
Gloria dell' illustrissimo Confessor d: Christo S. Nicolo il Magno, 
Arcivescovo di Mira. Composta dal P^dre Antonio Beatillo da Bari, 
della Campagnia di Giefu. Terza Ediiione. In Napoli, 1645." 

St. Nicholas. 69 

I think I have discovered the occasion of the boys addressing 
themselves to his patronage at p. 73 of the book, where we are told 
the following story, which fully satisfied my curiosity without pro- 
ceeding any farther in a book of this sort, which contains between 4, 
and 500 pages in a small letter. 

" The fame of St. Nicholas's virtues was so great, that an Asiatic 
gentleman, on sending his two sons to Athens for education, ordered 
them to call on the Bishop for his benediction : but they, getting 
to Mira late in the day, thought proper to defer their visit till the 
morrow, and took up their lodgings at an inn, where the landlord, to 
secure their baggage and effects to himself, murdered them in their 
sleep, and then cut them into pieces, salting them, and putting them 
into a pickling-tub, with some pork which was there already, meaning 
to sell the whole as such. The Bishop, however, having had a vision 
of this impious transaction, immediately resorted to the inn, and 
calling the host to him, reproached him for his horrid villainy. The 
man, perceiving that he was discovered, confessed his crime, and en- 
treated the Bishop to intercede, on his behalf, to the Almighty for his 
pardon ; who, being moved with compassion at his contrite be- 
haviour, confession, and thorough repentance, besought Almighty 
God, not only to pardon the murtherer, but also, for the glory of His 
name, to restore life to the poor innocents, who had been so inhu- 
manly put to death. The Saint had hardly finished his prayer, when 
the mangled and detached pieces of the two youths were, by divine 
power, reunited, and perceiving themselves alive, threw themselves 
at the feet of the holy man to kiss and embrace them. But the 
Bishop, not suffering their humiliation, raised them up, exhorting 
them to return their thanks to God alone for this mark of His mercy, 
and gave them good advice for the future conduct of their lives : and 
then, giving them his blessing, he sent them, with great joy, to pro- 
secute their studies at Athens." 

This, I suppose, sufficiently explains the naked children and tub ; 
which I never met with in any of the legendaries that I have 
consulted before. The late learned and worthy Mr. Alban Butler, in 
his "Lives of the Saints," vol. vi., p. 915, A. on December 6, only 
says, in general, that " St. Nicholas is esteemed a patron of children, 
because he was from his infancy a model of innocence and virtue ; 
and to form that tender age to sincere piety, was always his first care 
and delight." 

I am, Sir, your constant reader, W. C. 

[1777, p. 208.] 

On reading an answer to the inquiry of the author of " Observations 
in a Journey to Paris, in August, 1776," published in your last Maga- 
zine, I was pleased to see, what I had long wished to see, an account 
of St. Nicholas, and a reason given, why he was deemed the patron 
of children. 

Legends and Traditions. 

What excited this curiosity will appear from the following account : 
Cardinal Kemp, in the year 1447, founded a school at the place 
of his nativity in Kent, and drew up in Latin statutes for it. Amongst 
other things he mentions " consuetam Gallorum et denariorum 
Sancti Nicholai gratuitam oblationem." This customary gratuitous 
offering of St Nicholas's pence, over which Time had cast a veil of 
obscurity, now receives considerable light from the account which 
W. C. has given ; and if he, or any other of your correspondents, 
would cast equal light upon the expression of " consuetam Gallorum 
oblationem," it would oblige, 

[See ante, p. 56.] Your constant reader, 

X , X. 

St. Swithin. 

[1797, Part II., p. S 4 2-] 

St. Swithin, or Swithun, was of a noble West-Saxon family ; 
ordained priest by Helmstan, Bishop of Winchester ; and appointed 
president (prsepositus) of the old monastery there. Egbert, King of 
the West Saxons, made him his priest, under which title he subscribed 
a charter granted to Croyland Abbey ; and he was preceptor to Prince 
Kthelwolf, who, on his accession to the crown, #38, promoted Swithin 
to the see of Winchester, to which he was consecrated 852, and, 
dying 862, was buried in the cemetery of his cathedral After Bishop 
Walkelyn rebuilt the church, 1079, his relics were translated into it, 
1093. See more of him in Butler's " Lives of the Saints," on his 
anniversary, July 15, and the authors there cited. As to the old saw 
about the weather, the shepherd of Banbury can best explain it [See 
Note 10.] 

St. Valentine. 

[1797, /}!>///., p. 8 4 2.] 

St. Valentine was a Romish priest, who suffered martyrdom under 
the Emperor Claudius II., about A.D. 270. " To abolish the heathen, 
lewd, superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in 
honour of their goddess Februata Juno, on the i5th of February, 
several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given 
on that day." Butler, ibid., Feb. 14. 

St Francis de Sales severely forbade the custom of Valentines, or 
giving boys in writing the names of girls to be admired and attended 
on by ^hem ; and, to abolish it, he changed it into giving billets with 
the names of certain saints, for them to honour and imitate in a par- 
ticular manner. Ibid, i., p. 29. I do not find this custom among 
the ancient Pagan Romans ; nor is the modern custom mentioned in 
any otber History of the Saints. 

St. Wenefrede. 71 

St. Wenefrede. 

[1804, Part II., pp. 717, 718.] 

In the summer of 1800, I undertook a journey into North Wales, 
to make drawings and observations of some curious remains of anti- 
quity, and other romantic beauties peculiar to that principality. My 
intention for the present is to furnish you with a drawing of the elegant 
remains of the Chapel of St. Wenefrede, erected over the (formerly) 
wonder-working fountain at Holy Well, in Flintshire. The east end 
of the chapel is pentagonal ; the windows were elegant, but are most 
now filled up with brick and stone. It was formerly a free chapel in 
the gift of the Bishop, but has been used many years as a free school. 
The length of the chapel is 52 feet, the breadth about 20 feet. This 
building nearly joins the parish church, as may be seen by the but- 
tress of the church to the right in the view. The spring, or well, 
which this chapel covers, boils with vast force out of a rock, and is 
said to throw up twenty-one tons of water every minute ; a polygonal 
well covered with an elegant arch, supported by pillars, receives it. 
The roof is superbly carved in stone. On a pendant projection, over 
the fountain, is the legend of St. Wenefrede. The arch is secured 
with a number of ribs, the intersections of which are united with a 
sculpture ; some are grotesque figures, merely works of fancy ; others 
are compliments to the Stanleys, through whose munificence most 
probably the building was erected. There is a painting of the legend 
against a wall which supports the roof, but it is much mutilated ; over 
it is the following inscription : 

{a Ijonortm Sanctsc OTrtufrcKff, Cl et 1H. 

The legend of the well is briefly as follows : 

In the seventh century lived Wenefrede, a virgin of noble parents ; 
her father's name was Thewith, a potent lord, who resided where 
Holy Well now stands ; the mother Wenlo, of an ancient family in 
Montgomeryshire, and sister to St. Benno. The uncle, perceiving 
great piety, wisdom, and sweetness of temper in his niece, undertook 
to superintend her education ; having fixed on a spot of ground be- 
longing to her father, said to be near the place where the well is, which 
he made his residence. A neighbouring prince, Cradocus, son of 
King Alen, having often seen the fair Wenefrede, he became much 
enamoured with her beauty, and determined to gratify his amorous 
desires. He made known his passion, which was rejected by the 
virgin with abhorrence. She fled up the hill toward her father's 
house, but was overtaken by Cradocus, who cut off her head with his 
sword. Justice immediately punished the crime with death, for the 
impious Cradocus fell down dead, and the earth opening swallowed 
his lifeless body. The head of the virgin rolled down the hill, and 

72 Legends and Traditions. 

stopped at the spot where the well is situated, which at that instant 
burst out with the vast force before-mentioned, and which was before 
a valley of uncommon dryness. St. Benno took up the head, and 
offering up his devotions, joined it nicely to the body, which reunited, 
and the virgin survived her decollation fifteen years. She died at 
Gwytherin, co. Denbigh, where her bones rested till the time of King 
Stephen, when after divine admonition they were brought to Shrews- 
bury and placed in the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul there. A 
fraternity and guild was established in honour of the Saint at Shrews- 
bury ; it had its common seal ; in the centre of it a representation 
of the martyrdom ; and round the verge the following inscription : 

&tgillu' to'c fratmtttat' btatt OTeiufrfte btrtjim's ' tcc'ta fi'c't crue' 
t' fra' monapttv' S'c'i SJrtri Jfealoptc. 

The two great events of her death and translation are still com- 
memorated ; the former on the 22nd of June, and the latter on the 
3rd of November. 

Her sanctity, says her historian, was proved by numberless miracles 
after her death. The waters had such a sanative quality, that all 
human infirmities met with a cure or relief; the hand-barrows, 
crutches, etc., still to be seen pendent over the well, remain as evi- 
dence. The number of pilgrims for many years, I was informed, 
had decreased ; still many Catholics and others visit this fountain ; I 
saw several up to their chins, and with apparent devotion, moving 
round the well, as it seemed, a prescribed number of times. 

[See Note u.] Yours, etc., D. PARKES. 

Legendary Tale of Guy, Earl of Warwick, killing a 


[1784, Parti., p. 257.] 

An ingenious friend, who is investigating the histories of the archi- 
episcopal hospitals in and near Canterbury, having favoured me with 
a sight of a singular curiosity belonging to the hospital at Herbaldown, 
I obtained his permission to send you a faithful drawing of it for your 
entertaining and widely circulated miscellany. 

It is a maple bowl, used on the feast days at the hospital, and of 
great antiquity. The rims are of silver, gilt ; and in the bottom is 
fastened a medallion, which evidently represents a story of Guy, Earl 
of Warwick, with this motto : 


John Shurley, in his "Renowned History of Guy, Earl of War- 
wick,"* 4to., tells a story of his seeing a dragon and lion fighting 

* This History has no date ; but was "printed by A. M. for C. Bates and 
T. Foster," about the beginning of the present century. 

Guy, Earl of Warwick, Killing a Dragon. 73 

together in a forest bordering on the sea, as he was returning to 
Europe from the relief of Byzantium. He determined to take up the 
conqueror; and, after the lion was fairly spent, Guy attacked the 
dragon, and after many hard blows on his adamantine scales, spying 
a bare place under his wing, he thrust his sword in, to the depth of 
two feet, and with a dreadful yell the dragon expired. 

In Dr. Percy's very valuable "Collection of Ancient Ballads," 
vol. iii., p. 1 06, Guy says : 

" A dragon in Northumberland 
I alsoe did in fight destroye, 
Which did bothe man and beast oppresse, 
And all the countrye sore annoye." 

But this seems to have been a different dragon ; and in the famous 
Romance " of Bevis and Sir Guy," quoted by Chaucer, is said to be : 

" A fowle dragon, 
That sleath men and beastes downe." 

Yours, etc., EUGENIO. 

[1833, Part I., pp. 408, 409.] 

In the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. liv., p. 257, is a communication 
from a correspondent signing himself " Eugenio." For ADANOVN we 
should print it AD A NOVN, and for feet read YCCI, and the inscrip- 
tion will then be intelligible enough : 

" Guy of Warwick is he named ; here he slays the dragon ;" 
Or in old English rhyme : 

" Of Warwick he hight Guyon ; 
Here he slays the dragon." 

The story referred to is thus told in the old black letter edition of 
the Romance of Guy, "imprynted at London in Lothbury, over 
agaynst saynt Margarits Church, by Wylliam Copland," sign. R. iij. 

" And so vpon a sommers day, 
As they ryden by the way, 
They saw a lyon come a softe pace, 
And a dragon gan him fast chase ; 
The lyon durst him not abyde, 
He was so hydyous and so wyde ; 
His head was black, great, and long, 
And therewith wonder diuelish strong ; 
His eyen blacke as any cole, 
His body rugged as any sole ; 
His teeth long, his throate wyde, 
That a man therein might glyde. 

74 Legends and Traditions, 

To his knightes then sayd Guyon, 

I will go fight agayne yonder dragon, 

That would slea yonder gentle beast ; 

Abyde me here both moste and least 

Guy stert vp on his good steede, 

As a doughty knight in every deede, 

He tooke a gleyve in his hande, 

To the dragon he rode prickand. 

When the dragon saw Guyon, 

To him he ran, and lefte the lyon ; 

He ran to Guy and gaped wyde, 

Guy let to him a speare glyde 

In at his mouth, as a knight hardy, 

With his glayve through his body. 

That stroke came so full and sore, 

That the dragon fell downe thore, 

Then drough Guy out his svrorde browne, 

And smote of the head of the dragon," etc. 

[See Note 12.] Yours, etc., M. 

The Dragon of Wantley. 

[1824, Part II., pt>. 594, 59S-] 

The present favourite pantomime at Covent Garden Theatre is 
founded on the old song of " The Dragon of Wantley." " The age 
and the subject of this puzzling old ballad," says Mr. Hunter, in his 
History of Hallamshire, " have much perplexed the investigators of 
our popular antiquities, and collectors of our national poetry. 

" The scene of the ballad is Wharncliffe, five miles from the town 
of Sheffield, to the North. It is partly a forest, and partly a deer 
park. It is still the property of the Wortley family. A clift in the 
rock is now called the Dragon's Den. 

"The date of the ballad is fixed to a period before the Reformation 
by the mention of More of Morehall, who cuts so conspicuous a 
figure in it; that family becoming extinct in the time of Edward VI., 
and the true key to its subject I have no doubt is to be found in the 
tradition of the neighbourhood respecting Sir Thos. Wortley, which I 
shall present to the reader as it was committed to writing by a York- 
shire clergyman, Mr. Oliver Heywood, of Coley, near Halifax, one 
hundred and fifty years ago. ' Sir Francis Wortley's great-grandfather 
being a man of a great estate, was owner of a towne near unto him ; 
onely there were some freeholders in it with whom he wrangled and 
sued untill he had beggared them, and cast them out of their inherit- 
ance, and so the town was wholly his, which he pulled quite downe, 
and laid the buildings and town-fields even as a common ; wherein 
his main design was to keep deer ; and made a lodge, to which he 

The Dragon of Wantley. 75 

came at the time of the year, and lay there, taking great delight to 
hear the deer-bell. But it came to passe that before he dyed, he 
belled like a deer and was distracted. Some rubbish there may be 
seen of the town : it is upon a great moore betwixt Reniston and 
Sheffield.' " 

In the additions to his " Fragments of Lancashire," the late Mr. 
Gregson, after alluding to the above account by Mr. Hunter, observes : 
" The More of More Hall, the dragon-killing man, we have ever 
attributed to the Mores of Lancashire. When Sir Wm. de la More, 
famous for his gallantry, distinguished himself at the battle of Poictiers, 
his ancestors had been resident in Lancashire for generations (con- 
temporary with Guy, Earl of Warwick, for aught we know)." 

Mr. Gregson (pp. 164* 165*) then gives an account of Sir W. de 
la More, and of his family and descendants ; and also the ballad 
itself, from a copy " printed for Randal Taylor, near Stationers' Hall, 

In the Pepys Collection are the following remarks on the subject : 
"This humorous song, which appears to have been written about 
the latter end of the seventeenth century, is to old metrical romances 
what Don Quixote is to prose narratives of that kind a lively satire 
on their extravagant fictions. But although the satire is thus general, 
the subject of the ballad seems local, so that many of the finest strokes 
of humour are lost for want of knowing the particular facts to which 
they allude. The common received account is, that it relates to a 
contest at law between an overgrown Yorkshire attorney, and a neigh- 
bouring gentleman. The former had stripped three orphans of their 
inheritance, and by his encroachments and rapacity was become a 
nuisance to the whole county ; when the latter generously espoused 
the cause of the oppressed, and gained a complete victory over his 
antagonist, who from vexation broke his heart." [See Note 13.] 

The Laidley* 'Worm of Spindleston Heughs. 

[1 783, Part I., pp. 336-338.] 

The following stanzas, written in imitation of the ancient English 
ballad, are the production, I am credibly informed, of the Rev. Mr. 
Lambe, vicar of Norham upon Tweed, author of " The History of 
Chess," and editor of the old metrical account of the battle of 
Flodden. This song having been communicated to William Hutch- 
inson, Esq., the great north country topographer, had the honour to 
be inserted in that gentleman's most laborious and interesting "View 
of Northumberland," vol. ii., p. 153; where he very ingeniously 
conjectures it to have been " composed about the year 1095." So 
that you will perceive, supposing the original title to be true, the 
author must certainly have lived near 200 years after he wrote it. 

* Laithly, loathly, loathsome. 

76 Legends and Traditions. 


A Song 500 years old, made by the old mountain bard, Duncan 
Frasier, living on Cheviot, A.D. 1270. From an ancient manuscript. 

The king is gone from Bambrough castle : 

Long may the princess mourn, 
Long may she stand on the castle wall, 

Looking for his return ! 

She has knotted the keys upon a string, 

And with her she has- them ta'en ; 
She has cast them o'er her left shoulder, 

And to the gate she is gane. 

She tripped out, she tripped in, 

She tripped into the yard ; 
But it was more for the king's sake, 

Than for the queen's regard. 

It fell out on a day the king 

Brought the queen with him home, 

And all the lords in our country 
To welcome him did come. 

" Oh ! welcome, father," the lady cries, 

"Unto your halls and bowers ; 
And so are you, my stepmother, 

For all that is here is yours." 

A lord said, wondering while she spake, 

"This princess of the North 
Surpasses all of female kind 

In beauty and in worth." 

The envious queen replied, " At least 

You might have eflcepted me ; 
In a few hours I will her bring 

Down to a low degree. 

" I will liken her to a laidley worm, 

That warps abotrt the stone, 
And not, till Chrl<fy Wynd* comes back, 

Shall she again be won." 

The princess stood at her bower door, 

Laughing ; who 1 could her blame ? 
But ere the next efay's sun went down, 

A long worm she became. 

* /. (., Child o' Wynd. Mr. H, very gravely informs us that " there is a street 
now called ' The Wynd ' at Bambrsugh. 

The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heughs. 77 

For seven miles east, and seven miles west, 

And seven miles north and south, 
No blade of grass or corn could grow, 

So venomous was her mouth. 

The milk of seven stately cows, 

It was costly her to keep, 
Was brought her daily, which she drank 

Before she went to sleep. 

At this day may be seen the cave 

Which held her folded up, 
And the stone trough, the very same 

Out of which she did sup. 

Word went east, and word went west, 

And word is gone over the sea, 
That a laidley worm in Spindleston Heughs 

Would ruin the North country. 

Word went east, and word went west, 

And over the sea did go ; 
The Child of Wynd got wit of it, 

Which fill'd his heart with woe. 

He called straight his merry men all, 

They thirty were and three ; 
"1 wish I were at Spimdleston, 

This desperate worm to see. 

" We have no time now here to waste, 

Hence quickly let ne sail ; 
My only sister Margaret 
Something, I fear, doth ail." 

They built a ship without delay, 

With masts of the jown-tree,* 
With fluttering sails of silk so fine, 

And set her on the sea. 

They went aboard. The wind with speed 

Blew them along the deep : 
At length they spied a huge square tower, 

On a rock high and steep. 

The sea was smooth, the weather clear, 

When they approached nigher 
King Ida's castle they well knew, 

And the banks of Bambroughshire. 

Mountain-ash, a sovereign preservative against witchcraft and enchantment. 

78 Legends and Traditions. 

The queen look'd out at her bower-window, 
To see what she could see ; 

There she espied a gallant ship 
Sailing upon the sea. 

When she beheld the silken sails, 

Full glancing in the sun, 
To sink the ship she sent away 

Her witch-wives every one. 

Their spells were vain. The hags return'd 
To the queen in sorrowful mood, 

Crying, that witches have not power 
Where there is rown-tree wood. 

Her last effort, she sent a boat, 

Which in the haven lay, 
With armed men to board the ship; 

But they were driven away. 

The worm leapt up, the worm leapt down, 
She plaited round the stane ; 

And as the ship came to the land, 
She bang'd it off again. 

The Child then ran out of her reach 

The ship on Budle sand,* 
And jumping into the shallow sea, 

Securely got to land. 

And now he drew his berry brown sword, 

And laid it on her head : 
And swore if she did harm to him, 

That he woufd stride her dead. 

" Oh ! quit thy sword, and bend thy bow, 
And give me kisses three ; 

For though I am a poisonous worm, 
No hurt I will do to thee. 

" Oh ! quit thy sword, and bend thy bow, 
And give me kisses three ; 

If I am not won ere the sun go down, 
Won I shall never be." 

He quitted his sword, he bent his bow, 
He gave her kisses three : 

She crept into a hole a worm, 
But slept out a lady. 

* Budle (Mr. H. says) is very near Spmdleston. 

The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heughs. 79 

No cloathing had this lady fine, 

To keep her from the cold ; 
He took his mantle from him about, 

And round her did it fold. 

He has taken his mantle from him about, 

And it he wrapt her in ; 
And they are up to Bambrough castle, 

As fast as they can win. 

His absence, and her serpent shape, 

The king had long deplor'd : 
He now rejoic'd to see them both 

Again to him restor'd. 

The queen they wanted, whom they found 

All pale, and sore afraid, 
Because she knew her power must yield 

To Childy Wynd's, who said : 

" Woe be to thee, thou wicked witch ! 

An ill death mayest thou dee ; 
As thou my sister hast liken'd, 

So liken'd shall thou be. 

" I will turn thee into a toad, 

That on the ground doth wend ; 
And won, won shall thou never be, 

Till this world hath an end." 

Now on the sand near Ida's tower, 

She crawls, a loathsome toad, 
And venom spits on every maid 

She meets upon her road. 

The virgins all of Bambrough lown 

Will swear that they have seen 
This spiteful toad of monstrous size, 

Whilst walking they have been. 

All folks believe within the shire 

This story to be true ; 
And they all run to Spindleston, 

The cave and trough lo view. 

This fact now Duncan Frasier 

Of Cheviot sings in rhyme ; 
Lest Bambroughshire men should forget 

Some part of it in time. 
[See Note 14.] 

8o Legends and Traditions. 

The Dragon of the Ancients. 

[1861, Part II., pp. 130-132.] 

Most of the great nations of antiquity had a tradition of the dragon. 
The dragon of the Latins is thus described by Virgil : 

" At gemini lapsu delubra ad summa dracones 
Effugiunt, scevreque petunt Tritonidis arcem ; 
Sub pedibusque dese, clypeique sub otbe, teguntur." 

sEneictos, lib. ii. 225. 

It is to be observed that these dragons had wings, and could fly to 
some height. 

The Greek dragon resembles the Latin. The garden of the Hes- 
perides was guarded by a dragon, and the locality of these gardens is 
referred to Mount Atlas, in Africa. Hercules killed the dragon and 
carried off the golden apples which would now be called, in these 
un poetic days, Tangerine oranges. 

In one of the Greek traditions, usually referred to a period about 
thirteen centuries before Christ, Medea is described as having killed 
her two children in the presence of their father, and when Jason 
attempted to punish the barbarity of the mother, she fled through the 
air upon a chariot drawn by winged dragons. 

Another part of the same legend is, that Jason was to attack a 
monstrous dragon that watched, night and day, at the foot of a tree 
on which the golden fleece was suspended : but, by the power of 
herbs, Jason lulled the vigilance of the dragon, and obtained the 
golden fleece. The locality here is the eastern coast of the Black Sea. 

The story of Cadmus also contains a dragon. He landed in Boeotia, 
and sent his companions to fetch water from a neighbouring grove. 
The waters were sacred to Mars, and guarded by a dragon, who de- 
voured all the attendants of the Phoenician. Cadmus, tired of their 
delay, went to the place, and saw the monster still feeding on their 
flesh. He attacked the dragon, and overcame it by the assistance of 
Minerva. The story goes on to say that he afterwards sowed the 
teeth of the dragon in a plain, upon which armed men suddenly rose 
up from the ground. He threw a stone in the midst of them, and 
they instantly turned their arms one against another, till all perished 
except five, who assisted him in building his city. Cadmus is said to 
have lived about fifteen centuries before Christ. 

A continuation of this Greek tradition is, that an oracle had com- 
manded the Thebans to sacrifice one of the descendants of those who 
sprang from the dragon's teeth. Menceceus, a Theban, offered him- 
self as a human sacrifice to the ghosts of the dead, and destroyed his 
own life, near the cave where the dragon of Mars had formerly resided. 

The last of the great pagan nations has also its tradition of the 
dragon, and among their inimitable pottery the Chinese have the 
dragon china, which is scattered abundantly over England. We have 

The Dragon of the Ancients. 8 1 

usually seen the dragon depicted on this china as a lizard without 
wings indeed, we never saw it otherwise ; but the Chinese are 
scrupulously accurate in the delineation of natural objects, and that 
their dragon should have lost his wings is a proof that their earliest 
delineations were not made from the living animal, but that the 
creature was extinct in China when the Chinese began to represent it. 
Still, the Chinese insist upon a dragon, and when the emperor died, 
a few years ago, an edict was issued announcing that the emperor had 
ascended to heaven mounted upon a fiery dragon. 

Even in the science of medicine the dragon is remembered, and 
we can go into any chemist's shop and purchase gum tragacanth, or 
dragon's blood. 

Last of all, the geologists have dug up the bones of the dragon, 
and put them together. They find that the Greeks were more accu- 
rate than the Chinese, because the Greek dragon had wings. They 
also find that there were many species of the animal, from a monster 
with an expanse of wing stretching eighteen feet from tip to tip, down 
to a little animal no larger than a curlew. These bones are found in 
the oolitic formations, and so on, upwards. The geologists find that 
the wings were covered, not with feathers, but with scales, and that 
the eyes of the animal were large, as if to enable it to fly by night. 
Two models of these dragons, or pterodactyles, are perched upon a 
rock at the Crystal Palace. 

One of the earliest works of men was the subdivision of celestial 
space into constellations, and this is alluded to in the Book of Job, 
who mentions the constellation Orion. Among these constellations 
we find a dragon, and the writers of the Old Testament constantly 
allude to the existence of dragons as if they had seen them. Job 
himself says, " I am brother to dragons and a companion to owls," 
and this more than 2,000 years before Christ. Some 1,400 years 
later, Isaiah uses the expression, " The dragons and owls shall honour 
me;" and the Prophet Jeremiah not only assumes the existence of 
dragons in his own days, but affirms that they shall not become ex- 
tinct for some centuries to come, when he foretels that Babylon shall 
be a dwelling for dragons. But the passage in Micah is most curious, 
where he describes the cry of the dragon " I will make a wailing, 
like the dragons ;" such a cry as a nocturnal and solitary animal might 
well be supposed to utter. 

As many countries became more populous, the solitary and preda- 
tory dragon disappeared before the advance of an increased population, 
and, like the eagle, retired into places more and more remote from men. 

Pliny, writing in the first century, describes Babylon as lying utterly 
desolate. It then became the abode of dragons, and they are men- 
tioned as still existing by one of the pagan writers, though he does 
not speak of them in Chaldaea, but in Mount Atlas. 

At a period usually referred to the thirteenth century before Christ, 

VOL. iv. 6 

82 Legends and Traditions. 

we 1 have found Hercules attacking the dragon of the Hesperides on 
Mount Atlas. Fourteen centuries later, Solinus, a Roman writer who 
lived at the end of the first century, describes the elephants that 
abounded in those mountains in his time, and he finds that they are 
frequently attacked by dragons. These are his words : 

" Inter hos et dracones jugis discordia : denique insidiae hoc astu 
praeparantur : serpentes propter semitas delitescunt, per quas elephant! 
assuetis callibus evagantur: atque ita, praetermissis prioribus postremos 
adoriuntur, ne, qui antecesserunt, queant [ultimisjopitulari : ac primum 
pedes nodis illiganr, ut laqueatis cruribus impediant gradiendi facul- 
tatem : nam elephant!, nisi praeventi hac spirarum mora, vel arboribus 
se vel saxis applicant, ut pondere nitibundo attritos necent angues. 
Dimicationis praecipua causa est, quod elephantis, ut aiunt, frigidior 
inest sanguis, et ob id a. draconibus avidissime torrente captantur 
aestu : quam ob rem numquam invadunt nisi potu gravatos, ut, venis 
propensius irrigatis majorem sumant de oppressis satietatem : nee 
aliud majus quam oculos petunt, quos solos inexpugnabiles sciunt : 
vel interiora aurium, quod is tantum locus defend! non potest pro- 
moscide. Itaque cum ebiberint sanguinem, dum ruunt beluae, 
dracones obruuntur." \Collectanea reritm memorabilium sive Poly- 
histor, cap. 25.] 

In this description the most notable points are, that the dragon 
attacks the elephant for the sake of sucking its blood ; and that it 
makes its attack upon those vulnerable places, the eyes and the ears. 
It is interesting to observe how closely the heathen traditions, the 
discoveries of the geologists, and the sacred writers, agree in describing 
the animal. It was amphibious, it preyed alike on fish and on other 
animals, and it was, as the learned Cruden described, a dangerous 
creature, mischievous, deadly, and wild. 

The tradition so carefully cherished in England, of St George and 
the Dragon, as well as the similar traditions of Germany, appear to 
refer to isolated animals, driven by the hostility of increasing multi- 
tudes of men to solitary places where they could still find water, and 
gradually destroyed by horsemen covered with armour, who assailed 
them with the spear. It is to be hoped that the representations of 
these animals on the British coinage will, in future, be more accurate 
than those on some of the sovereigns and crown-pieces at present in 
circulation. The real pterodactyle was a much more formidable' 
animal than the imaginary dragon on the coinage. 

Robin Hood. 

[1820, Part //.,//. 507-5(39.] 

The following account of Robert, Earl of Huntington, extracted 
from Hargrove's " Anecdotes of Archery," may be interesting to your 
readers : 

Robin Hood. 83 

During the reign of Richard I., we first find mention made of Robin 
Hood, who hath been so long celebrated as the chief of English 

The intestine troubles of England were very great at that time, and 
the country everywhere infested with outlaws and banditti ; amongst 
whom none were so famous as this sylvan hero and his followers, 
whom Stow, in his annals, styles renowned thieves. The personal 
courage of this celebrated outlaw, his skill in archery, his humanity, 
and especially his levelling principle, of taking from the rich and 
giving to the poor, have ever since rendered him the favourite of the 
common people. 

Sir Edward Coke, in his "Third Institute," p. 197, speaks of Robin 
Hood, and says, that men of his lawless profession were from him 
called Roberdsmen : he says, that this notable thief gave not only a 
name to these kind of men, but mentions a bay on the Yorkshire 
coast, called Robin Hood's Bay. He further adds, that the Statute 
of Winchester, I3th of Edward I., and another statute of the 5th of 
Edward III., were made for the punishment of Roberdsmen, and 
other felons. [See Note 15.] 

Who was the author of the collection, called " Robin Hood's Gar- 
land," no one has yet pretended to guess. As some of the songs 
have more of the spirit of poetry than others, it is probably the work 
of various hands : that it has from time to time been varied and 
adapted to the phrase of the times is certain. 

In the " Vision of Pierce Plowman," written by Robert Longland, 
a secular priest, and Fellow of Oriel College, and who flourished in 
the reign of Edward III., is this passage : 

" I cannot perfitly my Pater Noster as the prist it singeth ; 
I can rimes of Robinhod and Randal of Chester." 

Drayton, in his " Poly-Olbion," song xxvi., thus characterizes him : 

" From wealthy abbots' chests, and churches' abundant store, 
What oftentimes he took he shar'd amongst the poor ; 
No lordly Bishop came in lusty Robin's way, 
To him before he went but for his pass must pay ; 
The widow in distress he graciously reliev'd, 
And remedied the wrongs of many a virgin griev'd." 

Hearne, in his " Glossary," inserts a manuscript note out of Wood, 
containing a passage cited from John Major, the Scottish historian, 
to this purpose : that Robin Hood was indeed an arch robber, but 
the gentlest thief that ever was : and says he might have added, from 
the Harleian MSS. of John Fordun's Scottish chronicle, that he was, 
though a notorious robber, a man of great charity. 

The true name of Robin Hood, was Robert Fitz-ooth, the addition 
of Fitz, common to many Norman names, was afterwards often omitted 
or dropped. The two last letters th being turned into d, he was called 

6 2 

84 Legends and Traditions. 

by the common people Ood or Hood. It is evident he was a man of 
quality, as appears by a pedigree in Stukeley's " Palaeographia Brit- 
tanniae," John Scot, tenth Earl of Huntington, dying in 1237, with- 
out issue, R. Fitz-ooth was by the female line next heir to that title, 
as descended from Gilbert de Gaunt, Earl of Kyme and Lindsey. 
The title lying dormant * during the last ten years of his life, there 
could be nothing unreasonable or extraordinary in his pretensions to 
that honour. The arms of Robin Hood were, Gules, two bends 
engrailed Or. In the old Garland he is said to have been born at 
l,oxley in Staffordshire; and in a shooting match,t made by the king 
and queen, being chose by the latter for her archer, she calls him 
Loxley : a custom very common in those days to call persons of 
eminence by the name of the town where they were born. 

It does not appear that our hero possessed any estate ; perhaps he 
or his father might be deprived of that on some political account ; 
attainders and confiscations being very frequent in those days of 
Norman tyranny and feudal oppression. In the igth of Henry II., 
when the son of that king rebelled against his father, Robert de 
Ferrers manned his castles of Tutbury and Duffield in behalf of the 
prince. William Fitz-ooth, father of our hero (suppose him connected 
with the Ferrers, to which his dwelling at Loxley J seems to point), 
might suffer with them in the consequences of that rebellion, which 
would not only deprive the family of their estates, but also of their 
claim to the earldom of Huntington. From some such cause our 
hero might be induced to take refuge in those woods and forests, 
where the bold adventurer whether flying from the demands of his 
injured country, or to avoid the ruthless hand of tyrannic power had 
often found a safe and secure retreat. 

Tutbury, and other places in the vicinity of his native town, seem 
to have been the scene of his juvenile frolics. We afterwards find 
him at the head of two hundred strong, resolute men, and expert 
archers, ranging the woods and forests of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, 
and other parts of the North of England. 

Charton, in his " History of Whitby Abbey," p. 146, recites, "That 
in the days of Abbot Richard, this free-booter, when closely pursued 
by the civil or military power, found it necessary to leave his usual 
haunts, and retreating across the moors that surrounded Whitby, 

* The title lay dormant ninety years after Robert's death, namely till the year 
'337> when William Lord Clinton was created Earl of Huntington. 

f On this occasion we are told that Robin Hood was dressed in scarlet, and 
his men in green ; and that they all wore black hats and white feathers. 

I The Ferrers were Lords of Loxley. The name of Loxley has been adopted 
for this chivalrous outlaw by the very intelligent author of "Ivanhoe." And 
Robin Hood has been given as a Christian name by the present Earl of Huntington 
to one of his youngest sons. 

Besides many other places, the following are particularly mentioned, viz., 
Barnsdale, Wakefield, Plompton Park, and Fountains Abbey. 

Robin Hood, 85 

came to the sea coast, where he always had in readiness some small 
fishing vessels ; and in these putting off to sea, he looked upon him- 
self as quite secure, and held the whole power of the English nation 
at defiance. The chief place of his resort at these times, and where 
his boats were generally laid up, was about six miles from VVhitby, 
and is still called Robin Hood's Bay." Tradition further informs us, 
that in one of these peregrinations he, attended by his lieutenant, 
John Little, went to dine * with Abbot Richard, who, having heard 
them often famed for their great dexterity in shooting with the long- 
bow, begged them after dinner to show him a specimen thereof; 
when, to oblige the Abbot, they went up to the top of the abbey, 
whence each of them shot an arrow, which fell not far from Whitby 
Laths, but on the contrary side of the lane. In memory of this 
transaction, a pillar was set up by the abbot in the place where each 
of the arrows fell, which were standing in 1779; each pillar still re- 
taining the name of the owner of each arrow. Their distance from 
Whitby Abbey is more than a measured mile, which seems very far 
for the flight of an arrow ; but when we consider the advantage a 
shooter must have from an elevation so great as the top of the abbey, 
situated on a high cliff, the fact will not appear so very extraordinary. 
These very pillars are mentioned, and the fields called by the afore- 
said names in the old deeds for that ground, t now in the possession 
of Mr. Thomas Watson. It appears by his epitaph, that Robert 
Fitz-ooth lived fifty-nine years after this time (1188); a very long 
period for a life abounding with so many dangerous enterprises, and 
rendered obnoxious both to Church and State. Perhaps no part of 
English History afforded so fair an opportunity for such practices, as 
the turbulent reigns of Richard I., King John, and Henry III. 

Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Justiciary of England, 
we are told, issued several proclamations for the suppressing of out- 
laws ; and even set a price on the head of this hero. Several 
stratagems were used to apprehend him, but in vain. Force he 
repelled by force ; nor was he less artful than his enemies. At length, 
being closely pursued, many of his followers slain, and the rest dis- 
persed, he took refuge in the Priory of Kirklees, about twelve miles 
from Leeds, in Yorkshire, the Prioress at that time being his near 
relation. Old age, disappointment, and fatigue, brought on disease ; 
a monk was called in to open a vein, who, either through ignorance 
or design, performed his part so ill, that the bleeding could not be 
stopped. Believing he should not recover, and wishing to point out 
the place where his remains might be deposited, he called for his 
bow, and discharging two arrows, the first fell in the river Calder ; the 

* Possibly without invitation. 

f That each of the arrows of these renowned shooters fell, as above described, 
is probable, but that they were shot from some other place than the top of the 
Abbey, is equally probable. 

86 Legends and Traditions. 

second, falling in the park, marked the place of his future sepulture. 
He died on the 24th of December, 1247,* as appears by the follow- 
ing epitaph, which was once legible on his tomb, in Kirklees Park ; 
where, though the tomb remains, yet the inscription hath been long 
obliterated. It was, however, preserved by Dr. Gale, Dean of York, 
and inserted from his papers by Thoresby, in his Ducat. Leod., and is 
as follows : 

"Hear, undernead his latil stean, 
Laiz Robert Earl of Huntington ; 
Nea Arcir ver az hie sa geud, 
An pipl kauld im Robin Heud ; 
Sick utlawz az hi an iz men, 
Vil England nivr si agen. 

Obit 24 Kal. Dekembris, 1247." 

In a small grove, part of the cemetery formerly belonging to this 
Priory, is a large flat gravestone, on which is carved the figure of a 
Cross de Calvary, extending the whole length of stone, and round 
the margin is inscribed in Monastic characters : 


The lady whose memory is here recorded is said to have been 
related to Robin Hood, and under whose protection he took refuge 
some time before his death. These being the only monuments re- 
maining at the place, make it probable, at least, that they have been 
preserved on account of the supposed affinity of the persons over 
whose remains they were erected. 

Robin Hood's mother had two sisters, each older than herself. 
The first married Roger Lord Mowbray ; the other married into the 
family of Wake. As neither of these could be Prioress of Kirklees, 
Elizabeth Stanton might be one of their descendants. 

In the churchyard of Hathersage, a village in Derbyshire, were 
deposited, as tradition informs us, the remains of John Little, the 
servant and companion of Robin Hood. The grave is distinguished 
by a large stone, placed at the head, and another at the feet ; on 
each of which are yet some remains of the letters I. L. 

[1766, p. 260.] 

The account Mr. Percy has given us of Robin Hood, is such as 
may in general be very well acquiesced in, for I can readily agree with 
him that he was never Earl of Huntington, and that the epitaph he 
there adduces is not genuine ; however, in justice to Mr. Thoresby, 

* Supposing him twenty-one years of age when on his visit to Abbot Richard at 
Whitby, he must at this time have been at least in his eightieth year. 

t This Norman inscription shows its antiquity. Robin Hood's ancestors were 
Normans, and possessed the lordship of Kyme in Lincolnshire. There is a market 
town in that county called Stanton. 

* Percy's "Ancient Songs," v. i., p. 74 seq. 

Robin Hood. 87 

I would observe, that if he be the person meant by a late antiquary, 
who pretends the epitaph was formerly legible on his tombstone, 
that author is misrepresented, for he only asserts, " there was an 
inscription," and that what he gives us was found amongst the papers 
of the learned Dr. Gale. I think it probable, the epitaph was given 
to Dr. Gale by some person that had been trying to imitate the style 
of the age wherein Robin is supposed to have lived. Or perhaps the 
epigraphe might have been put on the stone in after times, when it 
was commonly believed Robin had been Earl of Huntington. 

Tis the general opinion, that Robin was the most generous of all 
robbers, plundering and despoiling the rich, and distributing their 
wealth most liberally amongst the poor ; hence we have the proverb, 
noticed by Dr. Fuller,* of " Robin Hood's Penn'worths," spoken of 
things that are bought cheap. i 

Robin is supposed to live in the reign of Richard I.,f but his 
death is placed in the epitaph 48 years after, viz., 1247, in Henry 
III.'s time. But we cannot expect exactness in this matter, and 
indeed some bring him as low as the reign of Edward. J 

It is most surprising how far the fame of this man extended. 
There are memorials of him all over Yorkshire ; as his Well between 
Burwallis and Skulbroke, the seat of Henry Brown, Esq. ; his Bay 
on the eastern coast, " so called," says Camden, " from that famous 
outlaw Robin Hood." His Butts,|| for Bishop Gibson writes, "upon 
the adjacent moor (to the bay) are two little hills, a quarter of a mile 
asunder, which are called his butts." IT His " Pricks," another word 
for Butts,** which are two stone-lows, near the turnpike road leading 
from Sheffield to Grindleford bridge ; and lastly his tomb, for as the 
bishop again writes, " this noted robber lies buried in the park of 
Warwick-Lees-Nunnery in the West Riding, under a monument which 
remains to this day." ft 

We have remains also of him in Derbyshire, as a Well named 
from him, in descending from Millstone Edge to Hathersage, not far 
from the Pricks above mentioned.+J And on Hartley Moor, near 
Stanton, there is a ledge of rocks, which are called his " Prick." 
Also on Winhill, in Hope Dale, there is a rude natural rock, which 
they call " Robin Hood's Chair." 

But the principal scene of this hero's exploits, according to the 

* Fuller's " Worthies in Nottinghamshire." Drayton's " Polyolb." 

t Percy, p. 76. 

J Fuller, by mistake, has Iioo for 1190. 

See Dickinson's Map of the West Riding. 

II Camden, col. 905, and Fuller 1. c. 

IT Gibson in Camden. 

* Ibid. 

H- Percy, v. ]., pp. 81, 82. 

JJ Query whether the Pricks be not in this county? 

88 Legends and Traditions. 

ballads, was the forest of Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, and the 
parts adjacent, though it seems his renown had extended into more 
southern districts.* [The rest of this article dealing with the deri- 
vation of the name is not printed] 

I am, Sir, etc., T. Row. 

[I766,/. 400.] 

The ingenious Mr. T. Row may see, in a note of Mr. Hearne's, at 
p. 388 of " Chron. de Dunsta'ple," that there was a place called 
" Robin Hood's Bower " upon Maidenhead Thicket, in Berkshire. 
See also two other works, published by Hearne ; namely, " Peter 
Langtoft's Chron.," p. 667, and " Joh. de Fordun Scotichronicon," 
p. 774. An article in " Cowel's Law Dictionary" deserves con- 
sideration here. See it under Roberdsmen. 

(Extracted from the "Taunton Courier") 

[1818, Part I I., pp. 306, 307.] 

We are favoured by a correspondent with the following facts con- 
cerning these monuments of vulgar error. 

They are situated on Brown Down, near the road from Chard to 
Wellington, at least three miles from the situation assigned to them 
by Mr. Collinson in his History of the county on that from 
Neroche to Chard. A few days ago, a party of gentlemen from 
Chard explored one of them, the foundation of which was formed of 
very large stones, disposed in a perfect circle. Upon these was 
raised a mound, eight feet high, of alternate layers of black soil, 
found in the Somersetshire moors, and fine white sand. Ashes, inter- 
mixed with bones which had evidently undergone the action of fire, 
together with a quantity of charcoal, were found gathered up in the 
centre. Thence, the tumulus consisted only of the black bog earth, 
and rose more abruptly to the height (in all) of thirteen feet. It was 
surrounded, at a distance of six feet, by a circumvallation about two 
feet high. 

A jaw and several small bones, as white as ivory, were found very 
perfect ; and there was a large portion of a skull. The bog- earth 
had, through so many centuries, preserved its appearance unaltered ; 
and was cut out, like soft soap, but immediately turned to dust, on 
exposure to the air. On the top of each barrow was a small excava- 
tion like a bowl, which I have also found in several barrows on the 
Dorset Downs. 

This hollow was sagaciously alleged by a neighbouring farmer as 
a proof that the popular tradition whence these monuments have 
derived their name was well founded. " Robin Hood and Little 
John," said he, "undoubtedly used to throw their quoits from one to 

* Gunton, p. 4. 

Robin Hood. 89 

the other (distance a quarter of a mile) ; for there is the mark made 
by pitching the quoits !" 


[1864, Part If., p. 266.] 

Some twenty years ago an honest and intelligent Yorkshireman, 
who I could answer had no motive but truth, told me a " personal 
trait of this bold outlaw," which, with far from mean experience in 
ballad lore, I never saw in print, nor do I suspect has any reader of 
Sylvanus Urban. In allusion to his weather endurance in the 
"green wood," "The only thing Robin could not stand," he said, 
" was a cold thaw," in which probably many, myself certainly, far 
preferring the sharpest crisp frost, would agree with him. This, 
therefore, must have been a morsel of local tradition in the part of 
Yorkshire abutting on Nottinghamshire, so vividly described in 
Ivanhoe, perhaps just peeping out now in public after nearly 600 
years. P. 

[1852, Part II. , pp. 160-162.] 

The question on the veritable existence of such a personage as 
Robin Hood has frequently been a subject of dispute in the columns 
of the "Gentleman's Magazine." 

Having been an early and true lover of this celebrated hero, the 
delight of our youth and the admiration of our manhood, I have 
been highly gratified with the perusal of a tract recently published 
by the Rev. Joseph Hunter,* who, after a searching investigation, 
has at length dissipated the belief that Robin Hood was, after the 
opinion of M. Thierry,t the chief of a small band of Saxons, im- 
patient of their subjugation to the Normans ; or, according to a 
writer in the " London and Westminster Review "J (in whose opinion 
your correspondent mainly coincided), that he was one of the exhere- 
dati of the adherents of Simon de Montfort ; or, in the opinion of 
Mr. Wright, that he was amongst the personages of the early mytho- 
logy of the Teutonic people. 

Mr. Hunter has now shown that our early historians, Fordun, 
Wyntoun, Major, and Boece, are equally erroneous in their conjectures 

* "The Great Hero of the Ancient Minstrelsy of England, Robin Hood, his 
period, real character, etc., investigated and perhaps ascertained. By Joseph 
Hunter." 1852. (Being No. IV. of Mr. Hunter's "Critical and Historical 

f " Histoire de la Conquete de 1'Angleterre par les Normands," 1825. 

J No. 65, March, 1840. 

"Essays on the Literature, etc., of the Middle Ages." By Thomas Wright. 
2 vols. 1850. 

90 Legends and Traditions. 

as Stukeley, Ritson, Sir Walter Scott, and others of more modern 
date ; and after a lapse of upwards of five centuries, from research 
into various documents, he has resuscitated the veritable personage 
of our celebrated hero, unmistakably demonstrating that he lived in 
the reign of Edward II., and that he was an adherent of the Earl of 
Lancaster at the battle of Boroughbridge, in 1322-3. 

Mr. Hunter takes the heroic narrative of the Little Geste as the 
groundwork of his investigation into the existence of the hero, and 
verifies him in a progress which Edward II. made through Lanca- 
shire in the lyth year of his reign, 1323 ; at which time the King 
was especially intent in his inquiry into the state of his forests, which 
had been greatly wasted by the depredations of such men as Robin 
Hood ; and that he was amongst the proscribed persons who at that 
time fell into the King's hands. The King not only pardoned him 
for his trespasses, but actually took him into his employ as one of 
the valets or porters of his chamber ; and Mr. Hunter quotes from a 
document found in the Exchequer the very wages that he was paid, 
threepence per day. 

Numerous other references are made to documents of this age ; 
and no pedigree-hunter could more clearly trace the name and verify 
the person of an hitherto uncertain individual than Mr. Hunter has 
done; defining Robin Hood's exploits while one of the proscribed ; 
the localities which he visited, and which still bear his name par- 
ticularly identifying the spot of his celebrated well ; the probable 
cause of his death, and the place of his burial. 

Mr. Hunter starts also a very feasible conjecture as to the author 
of the " Little Geste." " By whom it was written," Mr. Hunter says, 
" it is in vain to hope for complete satisfaction ; but we must not 
omit to observe, what in this connection is a remarkable fact, that 
Barnsdale had in the early days of Edward III. its own poet. I 
mean Richard Rolle, the author of various poetical compositions, 
which were very popular in former days, as appears by their having 
been so early among the writings to which the art of printing was 
applied." [See Note 17.] 

Mr. Hunter has so ably summed up the substance of his investi- 
gations that I flatter myself you will not hesitate to find room for 
so interesting a fragment Fame seems to lose half its value by 
being annexed to a name only, unaccompanied with a knowledge 
of the biography of its owner, of the means by which he gained 
the difficult ascent to eminence, and of the circumstances of his 

" My theory," says Mr. Hunter, " is this :. that neither is Robin 
Hood a mere poetic conception, a beautiful abstraction of the life of 
a jovial freebooter living in the woods, nor one of those fanciful 
beings, creatures of the popular mind, springing in the very infancy 
of northern civilization, 'one amongst the personages of the early 

Robin Hood. 9 1 

mythology of the Teutonic people,' as Mr. Wright informs us ; but 
a person who had a veritable existence quite within historic time, a 
man of like feelings and passions as we are ; not, however, a Saxon 
struggling against the Norman power in the first and second reigns 
of the House of Anjou, nor one of the exheredati of the reign of 
King Henry III., but one of the contrariantes of the reign of King 
Edward II., and living in the early years of the reign of King 
Edward III., but whose birth is to be carried back into the reign of 
King Edward I., and fixed in the decennary period, 1285 to 1295 ; 
that he was born in a family of some station and respectability seated 
at Wakefield, or in villages around ; that he, as many others, partook 
of the popular enthusiasm which supported the Earl of Lancaster, 
the great baron of those parts, who, having attempted in vain various 
changes in the Government, at length broke out into open rebellion 
with many persons, great and small, following his standard ; that 
when the Earl fell and there was a dreadful proscription, a few per- 
sons who had been in arms not only escaped the hazards of battle, 
but the arm of the executioner ; that he was one of these, and that 
he protected himself against the authorities of the time, partly by 
secreting himself in the depths of Barnsdale, or of the forest of 
Sherwood, and partly by intimidating the public officers by the 
opinion which was abroad of his unerring bow, and his instant com- 
mand of assistance from numerous comrades as skilled in archery as 
himself; that he supported himself by slaying the wild animals that 
were found in the forests, and by levying a species of black-mail on 
passengers along the great road which united London with Berwick ; 
occasionally replenishing his coffers by seizing upon treasure as it 
was being transported on the road ; that there was a self-abandon- 
ment and a courtesy in the way in which he proceeded which distin- 
guishes him from the ordinary highwayman ; that he laid down the 
principle that he would take from none but those who could afford 
to lose, and that if he met with poor persons he would bestow upon 
them some part of what he had taken from the rich ; in short, that 
in this respect he was the supporter of the rights or supposed reason- 
able expectations of the middle and lower ranks, a leveller of the 
times ; that he continued this course for about twenty months, April, 
1322, to December, 1323, meeting with various adventures, as such a 
person must needs do, some of which are related in the ballads 
respecting him ; that when, in 1323, the king was intent upon freeing 
his forests from such marauders, he fell into the king's power ; that 
this was at a time when the bitter feeling with which the king and the 
Spensers at first pursued those who had shown themselves such for- 
midable adversaries had passed away, and a more lenient policy had 
supervened ; the king, possibly for some secret and unknown reason, 
not only pardoned him all his transgressions, but gave him the place 
of one of the ' vadlets, porteurs de la chambre,' in the royal house- 

Legends and Traditions. 

hold, which appointment he held for about a year, when the love for 
the unconstrained life he had led, and for the charms of the country, 
returned, and he left the court, and betook himself again to the green- 
wood shade ; that he continued this mode of life, we know not 
exactly how long, and that at last he resorted to the prioress of 
Kirklees, his own relative, for surgical assistance, and in that priory 
he died and was buried. 

" This appears to me to be, in all likelihood, the outline of his 
life ; some parts of it, however, having a stronger claim upon our 
belief than other parts. It is drawn from a comparison of the 
minstrel testimony with the testimony of records of different kinds, 
and lying in distant places. That I give full, ample, and implicit 
credence to every part of it, I do not care to affirm ; but I cannot 
think that there can be so many correspondences between the ballad 
and the record without something of identity ; and if we strike out 
the whole of what is built upon the foundation of the alleged relation- 
ship of the outlaw to the prioress of Kirklees, it will still remain the 
most probable theory respecting the outlaws, that they were soldiers 
escaped from the battle of Boroughbridge, and the proscription which 

Long as this extract has been, I must appeal to the gallantry of 
Mr. Urban to give space to another short one, in which Mr. Hunter 
alludes to a different female character to that of the prioress of Kirk- 
lees, the veritable wife of the gallant hero, the no less famous Maid 
Marian, who, 

with garland gay 
Is made the Lady of the Maye. 

In the Court rolls of the manor of Wakefield in the gth Edward 
II. there appears a Robert Hood living in the town, and having 
business in that court " Amabil' Brodehegh petit versus Robertum 
Hood \\}d. de una dimidia roda terras quam dictus Robertus eedem 
Amabil' demisit ad terminum vj annorum, quam ei non potuit 
warantizare," etc. And " in a parcel of deeds," adds Mr. Hunter, 
" of the Stayntons, which I have seen" (with whom he thinks the 
ballad hero might have been related), " one of them dated at Wolley- 
Morehouse, in 1344, is a grant from Henry, son of Amabil of Wolflay- 
Morehouse to Adam, son of Thomas de Staynton. We find Robertus 
Hood again at a court held in the following year, when he is described 
as being of Wakefield, and the name of his wife is mentioned. Her 
name was Matilda, and the ballad testimony is not the ' Little 
Geste,' but other ballads of uncertain antiquity that the outlaw's 
wife was named Matilda, which name she exchanged for Marian 
when she joined him in the greenwood." 

Excuse me, Mr. Urban, if I conclude with two remarks upon the 
" Legend of the Little Geste," which I have made in my prefatory 

Robin Hood. 93 

remarks to the edition of the "Robin Hood Ballads," which I 
published in two volumes, 1847.* 

" If, in this biographical sketch of Robin Hood, the editor had 
relied solely upon the numerous ballads relating to him, which 
naturally allude to the leading events of his life, much more might 
be verified from this source than any preceding biographer has 
attempted ; especially from that early printed and semi-biographical 
legend of him, ' A Lytell Geste of Robin Hode.' The reprint of this 
tale, the only really ancient ballad in Ritson's Collection, as well as 
the most poetical and natural of all relating to Robin Hood, will 
elucidate more clearly than any other documents his station in 
society, his character, and actions." 

" It is to the legendary ballad of the ' Lytell Geste' that we must 
chiefly refer for the most probable conjecture of the period when 
Robin Hood lived, and the transactions in which he was engaged. 
There are few ancient ballads in existence, either in manuscript or 
in print, in which such a minute detail of occurrences is narrated, and 
of such historical accuracy. There are dates specified, or referred 
to, the best tests of the accuracy of documentary evidence ; and 
there are the names of individuals mixed up with these dates, whose 
existence, at the same period, is confirmed by national historians 
whose fidelity is unquestioned." 

It is at this late period of inquiry that praise is due to the 
Rev. Joseph Hunter, for his indefatigable research into our early 
records to elucidate the veritable existence of Robin Hood, for the 
perspicuity with which he has arranged and elucidated their contents, 
and for his establishment of the fact that there did exist such a 
personage as Robin Hood. 

[See Note 16.] Yours, etc., J. M. GUTCH. 

The Romance of Robert the Devil. 

[1854, Part II., pp. 363, 364.] 

Most of your bibliographical readers are acquainted (at least by 
name) with the romance of " Robert le Diable," or " Robert the 
Devyll ;" though, as it does not occur in the list of romances in W. 
London's " Catalogue of the most vendible Bookes in England " 
(1658), it was probably never a popular story here. A new and per- 
sonal importance, however, has been given to it by recent Norman 
historians. M. Thierry, in his well-known "History of the Conquest," 
describes Duke Robert, the father of William the Conqueror, as one 
" whose violent character had gained for him the surname of Robert 
the Devil," (vol. i., p. 133, ed. 1847). M. Goube, in his "Histoire 
du Duche" de Normandie" (Rouen, 1815), relating the ferocious war- 

* Mr. Gutch's work was the subject of a long article in our Magazine for June, 
1847. Edit. 

94 Legends and Traditions. 

fare with which he supported Henry I. of France against the rebels 
in 1031, says, " C'e'tait la maniere du due de faire ainsi la guerre ; 
il disait qu'il fallait la pousser a toute outrance pour la terminer 
promptement, ou ne pas la declarer : c'est ce qui lui fit donner le sur- 
nom de ' Robert le Diable ' " (vol. i., p. 157). Neither of these writers 
gives any quoted authority for affixing this name to Robert I. ; never- 
theless, it has become proverbial, for " dit ' le Magnifique ' ou ' le 
Diable,' " is his usual description in biographical dictionaries. M. 
Morlent, in his " Petite Geographic du Ddpartement de la Seine- 
Infe>ieure " (no date, but very lately printed), repeats but softens this 
opinion : "Ses prouesses he'rolques, sa bravoure, sa loyaute', quelque 
chose d'imposant dans le caractere, enfin le melange de la religion et 
de la galanterie en firent un prince populaire, et lui valurent deux 
surnoms; celui de 'Robert le Diable' et de 'Robert le Magnifique'" 
(p. 12). 

M. Deville, in his " Histoire du Chateau d'Arques" (Rouen, 1839, 
8vo.), endeavours to identify the hero of the romance with Robert II. 
Referring to the preface of another work which he had edited, viz., 
" Miracle de Notre- Dame de Robert le Diable," he argues, " que ce 
personnage n'est autre que Robert Courte-Heuse, fils de Guillaume 
le Conquerant " (chap, vi., p. 98), but without repeating the reasons 
which led him to that conclusion. But M. Licquet, author of the 
" Histoire de Normandie " (Rouen, 1835, 8vo., 2 vols.), rejects both 
opinions, and, though the passage in which he discusses the question 
is rather long, your readers, if they have no other access to it, will 
not be displeased to see it entire. 

" II me reste a vous premunir centre une tradition fabuleuse, 
attach^ au nom de Robert. Quel habitant de Rouen, en suivant le 
cours de la Seine, sur un de ces bateaux voyageurs qui descendent et 
remontent le fleuve plusieurs fois par jour sur une tendue de quatre 
lieues environ, n'a pas involontairement tourn^ les yeux vers les hau- 
teurs de Moulinaux ? ' Voici le chateau de Robert le DiableJ ne 
manque pas de s'^crier quelqu'un des passagers. Et ce Robert le 
Diable serait precis^ment le due dont nous nous occupons en ce 
moment.* II est echappe 1 h. des dcrivains modernes de consacrer 
ce bruit populaire, et de marier le nom de notre due \ cette dpithete 
burlesque qu'il n'a point meritde. Robert, comme tous ses pre'de'ces- 
seurs, se montra intre"pide, ami des combats, fit la guerre comme on 
la faisait alors, ravageant, pillant, brulant tout sur son passage ; mais 
tout cela s'etait fait avant lui, et se fit encore apres. D'autres ont vu, 
dans ' Robert le Diable,' non pas celui dont nous venons de nous 
occuper, mais son petit-fils, Robert ' Courte-Botte' Celui-ci n'eut 
rien de plus diable que 1'autre, et ne me'rite pas d'avantage le sobri- 
quet Voici d'ou vient 1'erreur : on a imagine 1 de placer en tete de 
nos anciennes chroniques un vieu roman de chevalerie ayant pour 

* The father of William the Conqueror. 

The Romance of Robert the Devil. 95 

litre ' Robert le Diable,' fils d'un premier due de Normandie nomine" 
Aubert, qui n'a jamais existd Ce Robert, dit le romancier, fut sur- 
nomme le Diable, pour les grans cruautes et mauvaiseties dont il fut 
plain. Tout jeune, il battait ses camarades, egorgeait ses maitres. 
Plus tard, il entrait de vive force dans les couvens, et s'abandonnait 
a tous les exces. Nos dues Robert n'offrent aucun trait de ressem- 
blance avec ce he'ros de roman, et le nom a fait encore ici cotnmetre 
une erreur a I'e'gard des personnes" (vol. ii., pp. 33-35). 

The substance of the story is, that the mother of Robert, having 
long been childless, expressed a wish that if heaven did not grant 
her offspring the devil would. (" Flectere si nequeo superos," etc. 
yEn. vii., 312.) In consequence of this the son she afterwards bore 
proved diabolical in his disposition. At length he has an interview 
with his mother, in the castle of Arques (near Dieppe), in order to 
learn the fatal secret of his destiny, when she makes him a full dis- 
closure of the cause (see Deville, p. 105). Robert determines to 
amend his conduct, and says, in the language of the romance, 
Diables en moi plus n'aura, 

and adopts the process of contrition and reformation most consonant 
to the habits and ideas of the time. 

If we merely consider the character of the two Roberts, something 
may be found in each to account in part for his name being con- 
nected with the tale. The elder laboured under a suspicion of 
having poisoned his brother Richard, and the vices and rebellion 
of the other afforded some ground for odious imputations ; but 
neither answers fully to the hero of the story. Besides, it is founded 
on the long sterility of the duchess, which is utterly at variance with 
the fact of Robert I. being a second son, and Robert II. being born 
within a year after his parents' marriage. There is a Robert in the 
tale, and there are Roberts in the annals of Normandy, and the 
castle at Arques is also a real locality ; but when the writer com- 
poses in carelessness or defiance of historical truth, it is almost 
hopeless to speculate on the identity of his hero. 

The literary fate of Robert Courthose, at all events, is very remark- 
able, perhaps the most remarkable of his line ; for his name is not 
only associated with this romance, but also with the medical " Regi- 
men " of Salerno, which is supposed on good grounds to be dedicated 
to him. Yours, etc., J. T. M. 

Shakespeare's Shylock. 

[I7S4. A 22'-] 

It hath been questioned in some of the public prints whether any 
of the commentators on Shakespeare have remarked that the scene 
between Shylock and Antonio in the " Merchant of Venice " appears 
to be borrowed from a story in the life of Pope Sixtus V., Shake- 

96 Legends and Traditions. 

speare having changed the persons by substituting the Jew for the 
Christian, and the Christian for the Jew. 

The story is this : " It was reported at Rome that Drake had 
taken and plundered St. Domingo in Hispaniola, and carried off an 
immense booty. This account came in a private letter to Paul 
Secchi, a very considerable merchant in the city, who had large con- 
cerns in those parts, which he had insured. Upon receiving this 
news, he sent for the insurer, Sampson Ceneda, a Jew, and acquainted 
him with it The Jew, whose interest it was to have such a report 
disbelieved, gave many reasons why it could not possibly be true; 
and at last worked himself up into such a passion, that he said, ' I'll 
lay you a pound of my flesh it is a lie.' Secchi, who was of a fiery 
temper, replied, ' I'll lay you a thousand crowns against a pound of 
your flesh, that it is true.' The Jew accepted the wager, and articles 
were immediately executed betwixt them, that if Secchi won he should 
cut the flesh with a sharp knife from whatever part of the Jew's body 
he pleased. The truth of this account was soon after confirmed, and 
the Jew was almost distracted when he was informed that Secchi had 
solemnly sworn that he would compel him to the literal performance 
of his contract. A report of this transaction was brought to the pope, 
who sent for the parties, and being informed of the whole affair, said, 
' When contracts are made, it is just they should be fulfilled, as we 
intend this shall ; take a knife therefore, Secchi, and cut a pound of 
flesh from any part you please of the Jew's body : we would advise 
you, however, to be very careful, for if you cut but a scruple more or 
less than your due, you shall certainly be hanged.' The result at 
last was, that, to deter others from laying such wagers, they were both 
sent to prison, and condemned to suffer death. This sentence was 
changed for the galleys, with liberty to buy off that too by paying each 
of them 2,000 crowns, to be applied to the use of the hospital the 
pope had lately founded." 

The connoisseur has also taken notice of the similitude between 
the scene in Shakespeare, and the facts related in Sixtus's life ; but 
he thinks, with Mr. T. Warton, the author of "Observations on 
Spencer's Fairy Queen " lately published, that Shakespeare borrowed 
the incident from a ballad which is preserved in the Ashmolean 
Museum, and, as he believes, is nowhere else to be found ; but as 
this ballad appears by the first verse to be taken from an Italian 
novel, it is more probable that Shakespeare's resource was the fountain 
head than the stream. [See Note 17.] 

Legend of the Artifice of the Thong, in founding Cities 

and Castles. 

[1771, // so. SOL] 

The story goes, that Dido or Eliza, upon her arrival in Africa, after 
her flight from Tyre, purchased as much land of the natives of the 

Legend of the Artifice of the Thong. 97 

former place as she could cover, or rather enclose, with an ox's hide ; 
and thereupon cut the hide into thongs, and included a much larger 
space than the sellers expected; and that from thence the place, 
which afterwards became the citadel of Carthage, was called Bursa, 
Bursa signifying an ox's hide. This tale, which is either related or 
alluded to by Appian and Dionysius the geographer, amongst the 
Greeks, and by Justin, Virgil, Silius Italicus, and others of the Latins, 
has no foundation, I apprehend, in the truth of history, and indeed 
is generally exploded by the learned. However, let us see how later 
writers have conducted themselves in respect thereof; it was a subtle, 
pleasing artifice, and they were very unwilling not to make use of it 
for the embellishment of their respective works. 

First, Sigebert, monk of Gemblours, who flourished A.D. noo, has 
applied it to Hengist, the first Saxon King of Kent, saying, that the 
place purchased of the British King, and enclosed by hirn, was called 
Castellum CorrigiEe, or the Castle of the Thong; but now, there 
being several more of the name of Thong or Tong in England, as in 
Kent, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, and Yorkshire (Doncaster being 
written in Saxon Thongeceaster), the story has been applied to 
most, if not all of them ;* and with equal justice, being probably false 
in regard to them all. It is true Sigebert knew nothing of the Greek 
author above mentioned, but then he was well acquainted with Justin 
and Virgil ; and the same may be said of Jeffrey of Monmouth, 
A.D. 1159, who has the same story, and, if he followed not Sigebert, 
which is highly probable, took it from one of the Latin authors. 

Secondly, Saxo Grammaticus, who wrote about A.D. 1170, has 
applied the story to Ivarus,t making him use the same artifice in 
respect of Hella, and by that means getting a footing in Britain, 
which he became master of for two years. \ Saxo might take it either 
from Jeffrey or Sigebert ; or Justin, if you please, as he made great 
use of this author. We can account very rationally, you observe, Mr. 
Urban, for the proceedings of these three authors, Sigebert, Jeffrey, 
and Saxo Grammaticus, but what shall we say, thirdly, to an affair of 
the like kind in the East Indies ? " There is a tradition," Hamilton 
says, p. 136, "that the Portuguese circumvented the King of Guzerat, 
as Dido did the Africans, when they gave her leave to build Carthage, 
by desiring no more ground to build their cities than could be cir- 
cumscribed in an ox's hide, which, having obtained, they cut into a 
fine thong of a great length," etc. The Indians knew nothing of the 
authors above mentioned, nor probably did those Portuguese who 
first made the settlement at Dra. I am of opinion, therefore, that as 
Hamilton calls it only a tradition, this tradition was set on foot long 

* See Lombarde's Topograph. Diet., p. 80. Camden College, 569. 
t It is a bad omen that these authors do not agree in the person any more than 
others do in respect of the place. 
J Saxo Gram., p. 176. 
VOL. IV. 7 

98 Legends and Traditions. 

after the time, and perhaps by some of the first missionaries that went 
thither, who, we may suppose, had often heard or read of the like 
fabulous narrations in Europe, and accordingly vented this at Guzerat 
for the amusement of their countrymen. T. Row. 

[See Note 18.] 

Goodwin's Guile ; or, The Nuns of Berkeley. 

A Legendary Tale, written in 1776. 

[1825, Part II., pp. 513-516.] 

The following tale is founded on a tradition that the nunnery of 
Berkeley, in the county of Gloucester, was suppressed in the reign 
of King Edward the Confessor, by the villainous contrivance of 
Goodwin, Earl of Kent, who procured several of the nuns, and even 
the abbess herself, to be debauched. [The tale is in verse, and 
contains no special points of interest. It is, therefore, not printed.] 

Fair Rosamond. 

[1784, Part //.,/. 970.] 

In a very curious old book, intituled, "A Compendyouse 
Treatise ;* Dialogue of Dives and Pauper, fructuously treatynge 
upon the Ten Commandments ;" printed at London in quarto, by 
Richard Pynson, anno 1493, I find the following remarkable story: 

" We rede that in Englonde was a Kinge that had a concubyne, 
whos name was Rose, and for hyr greate bewte he cleped hir 
Rose amounde, Rosa mundi, that is to saye, Rose of the worlde. 
For him thought that she passed al wymen in bewtye. It bifel that 
she died and was buried whyle the Kynge was absent And whanne 
he came agen, for great loue that he had to hyr, he wold se the 
body in the graue. And whanne the graue was openned, there sate 
on orrible tode upon her brest betwene her teetys, and a foule adder 
begirt her body aboute in the midle. And she stanke so that the 
Kynge, ne non other, might stonde to se that orrible sight. Thanne 
the Kynge dyde shette agen the graue, and dyde wryte theese two 
veersis upon ye graue : 

" Hie jacet in tumba Rosa mundi, non Rosa munda ; 
Non redolet, sed olet, quae redolere solet." 

[See Note 19.] PHOSPHORUS. 

The King and the Tinker. 

['769,/. 576-] 

I believe most of your numerous readers have seen or heard the 
old song of "The King and the Tinker," though perhaps few of them 
are acquainted with the scene of that merry transaction. 

Crossing Ashdown Forest, in my way to Lewes, about 35 years ago, 

* The same book was " emprynted by Wynken de Worde, 1 ' 1496. 

The King and the Tinker. 99 

I came to a little alehouse called Duddleswell, which (though little 
better than an hovel), gives name to a very extensive manor, and still 
retains the traditionary honour of having entertained the funny 
monarch King Jemmy and his jovial companion the Tinker. They 
shewed me the chimney's corner, where his majesty sat inthroned, and 
directed me to King's Standing, about a mile off, where the king and 
his new acquaintance came up with the courtiers, and where an oak 
was planted upon that occasion which has always gone by the name 
of King's Standing Oak ; and a few years ago was remarkably over- 
grown with a long hairy sort of moss, but, alas ! when I went to this 
tree last month, I found it almost despoiled of its venerable beard, 
by the passengers beating down the small twigs to which it adhered, 
and carrying them away as a great curiosity. However, I have en- 
closed a little tuft thereof as a specimen, and likewise a map of Ash- 
down Forest, or Lancaster Great Park, published about twenty years 
ago, which I would recommend to the notice of your readers. 

I am, Sir, yours, etc., 

L. M. 

Beth-Gellert Legend. 

[1839, Fart II., p. 352.] 

It would hardly be supposed that the Beth-Gellert legend is to be 
found in Hindostan. Yet such is actually the case. It occurs in the 
" Hitopadesa," and is given in some extracts made from it by Sir \V. 
Jones. (See his life by Lord Teignmouth, edited by the Rev. S. C. 
Wilkes, in the editor's supplement) The moral is this "He who 
knows not the first principle and first cause, who is, besides, in sub- 
jection to wrath is tormented like a fool, as the Brahmin was who 
killed the ichneumon." The story is this, that the Brahmin, having 
occasion to go from home, committed his infant daughter to the care 
of an ichneumon, whom he had long cherished. " Soon after which 
the ichneumon, seeing a black serpent near the child, killed him and 
cut him in pieces ; and then, seeing the Brahmin returning, went 
hastily, his mouth and paws being smeared with blood, and fell at the 
feet of his master, who, seeing him in that condition, and saying to 
himself ' He has devoured my child !' stamped on him and killed 
him. Afterwards, going into his house, he saw his child asleep, and 
the dead snake lying by him ; at looking, therefore, at the ichneumon, 
his benefactor, he was greatly afflicted." The " Hitopadesa " (i.e., 
Friendly Instructions) is considered by Sir W. Jones to be the most 
splendid collection of fables in the world. It was written, about 
eleven centuries ago, by a Brahmin named Vishnu Sarma. It is the 
basis of the work known in Europe by the name of " Pilpay." 

[See Note 20.] ANSELM. 


ioo Legends and Traditions. 

Legend of the Giant's Cave. 

[1791, Part II., pp. 990, 991.] 

As the trifling account of the Luck of Edenhall [see " Gent. Mag. 
Lib., Popular Superstitions," pp. 189-193] appeared not unworthy of 
your notice, I will give an imperfect description of another curiosity in 
the same neighbourhood, called The Giant's Cave. From Edenhall, my 
fellow-traveller and I were conducted to the banks of the river Eamont, 
where we were gratified with a sight of this curious den. Difference 
of opinion, unavoidable in most cases, prevents me from calling it 
"a dismal or horrid mansion." A flight of steps, cut out of the rock 
(not so terrible as have been represented), led us nearly half-way 
down a bold precipice ; and, by advancing a few yards to the right, 
we came to the mouth of the cave, where a part of the roof (other- 
wise not altogether safe) is supported by a pillar in the centre. This 
pillar was evidently intended for the conveniency of hanging doors, 
or something of the sort, to prevent surprise ; and the remains of 
iron gates, I am told, have not been long removed. Here visitors 
wish to perpetuate their names, but a soft mouldering stone is un- 
favourable to the purpose ; none of more antient date appear than in 
the year 1660. This rock, a soft red sandstone, appears of vast 
depth, and the dipping of the strata about 23 degrees West. The 
cave at the entrance is about 9 feet high and 20 wide, and extends 
in length about 50, when it becomes more contracted in every point 
of view. Stagnant water and dirt within add to the natural gloomi- 
ness of the place, and give an unfavourable impression. But the 
situation is in many respects beautiful a fine winding river flowing 
at the bottom of a lofty precipice (not so bold indeed as to alarm) 
had to me at least a pleasing effect. This, with a very extensive 
prospect, engaged my attention so much that I wondered I had over- 
looked, at a very little distance, on a flat on the opposite side of the 
river, the church commonly called Nine-Kirks, or Nine-Church, and 
the parish, Nine-Church parish, from its being dedicated to St. 
Ninian, " a Scottish saint, to which kingdom," according to Dr. Burn, 
" this church did probably belong at the time of the dedication." A 
church situated at the extreme bounds of a parish, far from any in- 
habitants, is not so uncommon a circumstance as it is difficult to be 
accounted for. A narrow path led us a little further to a chasm in 
the rock : this is called The Maiden's Step, from the traditionary ac- 
count of the escape of a beautiful virgin from the hands of Torquin 
the Giant, who, after exercising upon all occasions every species of 
brutality and depredation within his reach, retreated to this his 

In some parts of the North of England it has been a custom, for 
time immemorial, for the lads and lasses of the neighbouring villages 
to collect together at springs or rivers on some Sunday in May, to 

Legend of the Giant's Cave. 101 

drink sugar and water, where the lasses give the treat : this is called 
" Sugar-and-water Sunday." They afterwards adjourn to the public- 
house, and the lads return the compliment in cakes, ale, punch, etc. ; 
and a vast concourse of both sexes always assembles at the Giant's 
Cave on the third Sunday in May for this purpose. Of this practice, 
Mr. Urban, I have been many years an eye-witness ; and I shall be 
much obliged to any of your correspondents that can give me an 
account of the origin of this singular custom. 

Two circular stone pillars, resembling the ancient spears, near 
12 feet .high and 14 asunder, point out to us The Giant's Grave, in 
Penrith churchyard. Tradition, mostly something to rest upon, 
informs us that, Torquin refusing to obey the summons of King 
Arthur to appear at his Court, to answer for the ravages he daily 
committed, Sir Lancelot du Lake was despatched to bring him by 
force. A battle was the consequence ; Torquin fell, and was buried 
betwixt these pillars. The battle, I think, is celebrated in many 
ballads of the ancient poets. It may be met with in Percy's 
"Reliques of Antient English Poetry.' [Then follows the poem.] 

W. M. 

[1791, Partll.,p. 1080.] 

To the information given by W. M. about King Arthur and 
his round table, I shall beg leave to add that the seat of this 
fabulous monarch was at Carlisle, and that Tarn Wadling, a spacious 
lake near Armanthwaite, is frequently mentioned in our old poetical 
romances concerning him. It is said, I think, that there is a city at 
the bottom of it. The origin of these local traditions is to be attri- 
buted to the Cambrian Britons, who kept possession of this part of 
the country long after the Saxons, and even Normans, were in pos- 
session of the rest One seldom hears of King Arthur but in or near 
Wales, Cornwall, or Cumberland. DEIRENSIS. 

Church Building Legend. 

[1794, Part /., /. 209.] 

If you like legendary tales, the vulgar will tell you a good one. 
There is a field which I have been in near the town [of Shirland) 
called the Church Field. They say the Church was primarily erected 
there, but that in one night it was carried away and safely placed in 
its present situation. 


Legend of the Origin of Whitstable. 

[1857, Part I., p. 71.] 

While strolling on the Kentish coast last summer I halted at 
a roadside inn, in what I found was styled "West end of Heme." 

IO2 Legends and Traditions. 

I inquired, among other matters, the distance to Whitstable, and 
received the desired information from the portly, goodnatured- 
looking mistress, with the addition, " Ah, sir, that's a queer place ; 
you'll see all the houses stuck up and down the hill, just as the devil 
dropped 'em, as folk say here !" I naturally asked the particulars of 
this diabolical feat, and in answer was favoured with the following 
tale, which I do not give in the good lady's own words, lest I should 
wound the amour propre of the respected citizens of Durovernum, 
for, according to her, " it was all along of the wickedness of the 
Canterbury people," of which some instances were supplied. 

Canterbury, as all the world of Kent knows, is "no mean city" 
now ; but six centuries ago, when it was the resort of thousands of 
pilgrims, it was so glorious that it excited the wrath of the foul fiend, 
and its inhabitants being as bad as Jerome describes the people of 
Jerusalem to have been when that city too was famous for pilgrimages, 
he sought and obtained permission to cast it into the sea, if the ser- 
vice of prayer and praise usually performed by night and by day at 
the tomb of St. Thomas the Martyr should be once suspended. 
Long and eagerly did Satan watch ; but though the people grew 
worse and worse daily, the religious were faithful to their duties, and 
he almost gave up the hope of submerging the proud city. At length, 
however, his time came. A great festival had been held, at which 
the chaplains at the saint's tomb had of course borne a prominent 
part, and when night came, utterly exhausted, they slept all, and 
every one. 

The glory of Canterbury was now gone for ever. Down pounced 
the fiend, and endeavoured to grasp the city in his arms; but though 
provided with claws proverbially long, he was unable to embrace one 
half, so vast was its size. A portion, however, he seized, and having 
with a few strokes of his wings reached the open sea, he cast in his 
evil burden. Thrice he repeated his journey, portion after portion 
was sunk, and the city was all but annihilated, when the prayers of 
the neglected St. Thomas prevailed, and an angelic vision was sent to 
Brother Hubert, the Sacristan, which roused and directed him what 
to do. He rushed into the church, and seizing the bell-rope, he 
pulled vigorously. The great bell Harry, which gives its name to 
the centre tower of the minster, ordinarily required the exertions of 
ten men to set it in motion, but it now yielded to the touch of one, 
and a loud boom from its consecrated metal scared the fiend just as 
he reached the verge of the sea ; in despair he dropped his prey 
and fled, and Canterbury has never since excited his envy by its 

There was a remarkable difference in the fate of the different parts 
of Satan's last armful, from which a great moral lesson was justly 
drawn by my informant. Those very few houses, in which more 
good than bad were found, were preserved from destruction by 

A Legend of Cheddar Cliffs. 103 

falling on the hill-side, and they thus gave rise to the thriving port 
of Whitstable ; while the majority, where the proportions were 
reversed, dropped into the sea a mile off, and there their remains are 
still to be seen ; but antiquaries, if ignorant of the facts of the case, 
have mistaken them for the ruins of Roman edifices submerged by 
the encroaching ocean. It is to be hoped that they will suffer the 

invaluable guide, local tradition, to set them right 

* * 

A Legend of Cheddar Cliffs. 

[1866, Part II., pp. 636-638.] 

In the course of an investigation into the bygone monastic life of 
England, I have met with a very remarkable confirmation, in the oral 
tradition of a village, of an historic document nearly a thousand years 
old. As it helps to prove the circumstantial correctness of those 
ancient records upon which our national history rests, I venture to 
submit it to the notice of yourself and your readers. It is the more 
striking because the incident is one which is alluded to in general 
terms only in all the histories and original documents, but the details 
are to be found in the oral tradition and in this ancient manuscript. 

About fourteen miles from Glastonbury the traveller comes to a 
small town or village, known all over the world for its magnificent 
piece of rock scenery, and less poetically for its excellent cheese. It 
illustrates the vicissitudes of human fame ; for this village of Cheddar, 
now so vulgarly immortalised, was at one time a royal residence, had 
a king's palace, and basked in the gaiety of a court. Nearly all the 
Saxon kings, from the Heptarchy, retained it as a royal possession, 
probably from the excellent hunting in the neighbourhood ;* but we 
have distinct evidence that Athelstan and his brother Edmund held 
their courts at Cheddar. It was to the court of the former that 
Dunstan was introduced when a mere youth, and played out the first 
act in the drama of his life, which ended by his being expelled through 
the intrigues of those who were jealous of his popularity. He then 
left the country, by the advice of Elphege the " Bald," Bishop of 
Winchester, went over to Fleury, became an enthusiastic monk, re- 
turned, and, as an anchorite, took up his abode in a cell adjoining 
Glastonbury Abbey, the narrow dimensions of which, and its facilities 
for discomfort, were the admiration of the surrounding country. After 
the death of Athelstan, Edmund succeeded ; and, as he had known 
Dunstan through meeting him at his brother's court, and his estima- 
tion of him being unimpaired by what had occurred, he persuaded 

* A Somersetshire clergyman and well-known antiquarian informs me : " I have 
again and again heard and noted down the tradition concerning the king and 
Cheddar Cliffs. All that portion of the Mendips, from Cheddar Cliffs beyond 
Axbridge, was once royal property ; it was a hunting-ground abounding with deer. 
I myself have found in hollows in the Mendips a wheelbarrowful of antlers, skulls, 
and other bones of the deer." 

IO4 Legends and Traditions. 

the saint, whose ascetic severities and renowned encounter with his 
Satanic Majesty had made his name famous, and whose inheritance 
under the will of the pious widow Ethelgiva had given him the repu- 
tation of wealth, to leave his narrow cell, and give him the benefit of 
his presence and advice at court. Dunstan consented forsook his 
ascetic existence, and once more appeared upon the stage of active 
life amid the gay scenes of a royal palace. 

Again he became the victim of jealousy, and again did the 
courtiers make injurious insinuations to the king about him, and 
brought charges against him with so much persistence, that at last 
they succeeded in persuading Edmund to expel him ; and once more 
Dunstan was banished. At this point occurred the incident which 
forms the subject of the tradition. We shall give the oral version 
first, and then the historic account which it so strangely confirms. 

Everyone who has been to Cheddar has seen the cliffs an im- 
mense chain of rocks towering up at the highest point to an altitude 
of 800 feet. A defile runs through them, and, viewed from below, 
they form one of the most gorgeous specimens of rock-scenery to be 
found in Europe. There is something inexpressibly grand in their 
bare and simple magnificence, as their heads appear to melt into the 
clouds, and luxuriant festoons of ivy hang far down from their 
summits like a beauty's dishevelled locks. The eye grows accus- 
tomed to Switzerland, but Cheddar is a continual surprise. Beyond 
the summit of this range of rocks is a vast expanse, once the royal 
Saxon hunting-ground. Almost any peasant taking a stranger over 
the scene will be sure to lead him to a certain precipice, and tell him 
that was the spot where the king in the olden times nearly rode over. 
He will add, that the stag, being hard pressed by the hunters, made 
for the rocks, and in the impetuosity of the chase the king's horse 
became unmanageable, and continued to follow it at full speed. At 
the instant of extreme peril the king, seeing nothing but death before 
him, immediately thought of the man of God whom he had unjustly 
punished, and vowed to heaven that, if he were saved, he would re- 
store him with honour. The stag and the dogs fell over, and were 
dashed to pieces; the horse went up to the very verge of the precipice, 
when, making a sudden turn, he avoided it, and the king was saved. 
He was true to his vow, and immediately recalled Dunstan. In many 
histories this incident is not mentioned ; and in the biographies of 
Dunstan it is merely alluded to as a miraculous rescue of the king 
whilst hunting. 

In the Cottonian collection at the British Museum (" Cleopatra," 
B. xiii., fo. 62), there is a very interesting and valuable MS. bound 
up with others, being a life of Dunstan, written only a few years 
after his death by a contemporary who must have known him well ; 
for it is the most complete and incidental biography of Dunstan ex- 
tant. It has been printed in the " Acta Sanctorum," marked B (" Acta 

A Legend of Cheddar Cliffs. 105 

Sanct.," 19 Mali, torn, iv.), and is supposed to have been written by 
Bridferth, who in 980 was a monk of Ramsey. This MS. was con- 
sulted by William of Malmesbury in the twelfth century, and there 
are two inscriptions upon it made by two distinguished men who used 
it later. Josselin, who, under the direction of Archbishop Parker, 
1565, compiled the " Antiquitates Britannicae," after examining it, 
wrote the following: "Hunc librum cujus auctor ut apparebit lectori, 
claurit tempore ipsius Dunstani de quo agit, reperi inter veteres libros 
MSS. Monasterii Augustinensis Cant. : anno Dni. 1565, mens August. 
J. Josseling." Archbishop Ussher also perused it, and wrote the 
following in a side-note : " Ibi hunc ipsum librum a Gulielmo Malms- 
buriensi repertum esse : ex libro ejusdem De Antiquitate Glastoniensis 
Monasterii apparebit. Ja. Usserus." The account of the incident 
as given in this MS. is minute, and accords exactly with the popular 
legend now to be heard in the neighbourhood. The MS. recites the 
facts that, after the death of Athelstan, Edmund succeeded, and 
reinstated Dunstan, who had been expelled from his offices ; that 
jealousies again sprung up amongst the courtiers, and representations 
were continually being made to his prejudice, until the king at last 
believed them, and ordered him to be once more degraded and 
banished, and that his case excited the sympathy of some deputies 
who were visiting the court at Cheddar. But, the MS. proceeds, a 
day or two after this circumstance, the king, as he was wont, went out 
upon a hunting expedition, and several stags were startled by the bay- 
ing of the dogs and the noise of the hunting-horns. Out of these the 
king chose one for his especial sport, and pursued it with his dogs for a 
long time through many devious paths. Now, the MS. continues, there 
is in the neighbourhood of Cheddar, amongst other rocks, one of a 
prodigious height, whose summit hangs over a profound precipice, 
towards which the stag, driven probably by the- will of God, hurried, 
rushed over its summit, followed by the dogs, and all were dashed to 
pieces. The king followed closely upon their heels, but seeing the 
stag and hounds disappear so suddenly over the precipice, he strove 
to arrest his horse, but was unable : the animal rushed on, and 
Edmund, finding all efforts were useless, commended his soul into 
the hands of God with these words : " I thank thee, Almighty, that 
I do not remember to have injured any one lately, save only Dunstan, 
and if thou wilt spare my life, I will at once restore him again." At 
these words the horse suddenly paused " as I even now tremble to 
relate," says the writer (" quod jam horreo dicere ") -paused at the 
very summit of the precipice, when its forelegs were almost over,* and 
the king was saved. 

Then he returned, giving thanks to God, and rejoicing in his heart, 
that he was snatched from death through the merits of Dunstan, whom 

* Restitit equus in ultimo praecipiti cespite ubi pedes priores equi ipsius pene 
fuerant in ima voraginis ruituri. MS. 

io6 Legends and Traditions. 

he instantly restored, made him abbot of the monastery at Glaston- 
bury, and gave him large sums of money to rebuild its ruined 

I submit this as a remarkable instance of the confirmation of his- 
torical incident by oral tradition. The legend, as I have related it, 
must have been handed down from generation to generation for nearly 
a thousand years amongst a poor ignorant peasantry, who knew nothing 
about history, but simply told their children what their fathers had 
told them. Oral traditions are often neglected, but it is not impos- 
sible that as a medium of transmission they may be sometimes safer 
than the biased pens of prejudiced historians. In any case, when 
they corroborate documentary history so clearly as in this instance, 
they enhance the value of those monastic records of the history of 
England, extant in an unbroken line by different writers, from the 
time of the conversion of the Saxons down to the period just pre- 
ceding the Reformation, when the printing press obviated the neces- 
sity of their labours. Few countries are richer in documentary 
history than ours, and I think we ought to value it more. Under 
the influence of a criticism of searching severity, modern historians 
are being driven back to these only real materia historica, which their 
predecessors despised. The day is gone for writing history by the 
fatuous light of imagination, and the revelations which are gradually 
being made by laborious historians concerning such periods as the 
Dark Ages and the times of Henry VIII., prove that considerable 
portions of the history of England will have to be rewritten for the 
perusal of future generations. We conclude this letter with the 
melancholy fact, that as no nation is richer in materials for its history 
than ours, so perhaps no other nation has so long neglected the use 
of its materials. 


[1867, Part /., //. 92, 93.] 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for November, 1866, you have 
published an interesting letter from Mr. O'Dell Travers Hill. Mr. 
Hill is mistaken in assuming that the curious incidents he relates have 
no other foundation than oral tradition in the locality of Cheddar. 

Among many other valuable MSS. belonging to the corporation of 
Axbridge (one mile from Cheddar), is a MS., apparently written about 
the fourteenth or fifteenth century, from which I give you an extract, 
and shall be glad to see it made public through the same medium as 
Mr. Hill's letter. After giving a somewhat curious account of the 
origin and purposes of royal boroughs (of which Axbridge was one), 
the MS. proceeds thus: 

"Sometimes, for the sake of hunting, the king spent the summer 
about the Forest of Mendip, wherein there were, at that time, nume- 
rous stags and other kinds of wild beasts. For, as it is read in the 

A Legend of Cheddar Cliffs. 107 

life of Saint Dunstan, King Edward, who sought retirement at Glaston- 
bury, came to the said forest to hunt, Axbridge being then a royal 
borough. The king, three days previously, had dismissed Saint 
Dunstan from his court, with great indignation and lack of honour ; 
which done, he proceeded to the wood to hunt This wood covers a 
mountain of great height, which, being separate in its summit, exhibits 
to the spectator an immense precipice and horrid gulph, called by 
the inhabitants Cheddarclyffe. When, therefore, the king was chasing 
the flying stag here and there, on its coming to the craggy gulph, the 
stag rushed into it, and, being dashed to atoms, perished. Similar 
ruin involved the pursuing dogs ; and the horse on which the king 
rode, having broken its reins, became unmanageable, and in an 
obstinate course carried the king after the hounds ; and the gulph, 
being open before him, threatens the king with certain death. He 
trembles, and is at his last shift. In the interval, his injustice, 
recently offered to Saint Dunstan, occurs to his mind ; he wails it, 
and instantly vows to God that he would, as speedily as possible, 
recompense [such injustice] by a manifold amendment, if God would 
only for the moment avert the death which deservedly threatened 
him. God, immediately hearing the preparation of his heart, took 
pity on him, inasmuch as the horse instantly stopped short, and, to 
the glory of God, caused the king, thus snatched from the peril of 
death, most unfeignedly to give thanks unto God. Having returned 
thence to his house, that is the borough, and being joined by his 
nobles, the king recounted to them the course of the adventure which 
had happened, and commanded Saint Dunstan to be recalled with 
honour and reverence : after which he esteemed him in all trans- 
actions as his most sincere friend." 

There cannot be much doubt that the person who penned the MS. 
from which I have quoted, must have read the biography of Saint 
Dunstan, referred to by Mr. Hill. Both accounts are, in their leading 
features, very nearly identical. I hope Mr. Hill will give the public 
more of his " notes " from our public records, of which he speaks in 
terms of deserved admiration for their value ; from which, so to speak, 
a new history of England may be compiled. 

In conclusion, I may add that Axbridge is a very ancient borough, 
municipal as well as parliamentary ; having sent two members to 
Parliament on five occasions ; the first, 23rd Edward I. ; and the 
last, i7th Edward III. I am, etc., THO. SEREL. 

[See Note 21.] 

A Legend of Merionethshire. 

[1820, Part I., p. II.] 

A few years ago was to be seen on the road-side near Nannau, in 
Merionethshire, the seat of Sir R. W. Vaughan, Bart., M.P., a large 

io8 Legends and Traditions. 

hollow oak, known by the name of the "Spirit's Blasted Tree" 
(Ceubren yr Ellylt). The event which gave rise to so ghostly an 
appellation, is preserved by tradition among the mountain peasants 
in this part of Merionethshire, and founded on a deadly feud that 
subsisted between the celebrated " wild, irregular Glyndwr,"* and his 
kinsman Howel Sele, then resident at Nannau. When Owen took 
up arms against the English, his cousin Howel, who possessed great 
influence in the country where he lived, declined to embrace a cause 
which, though perhaps laudable, and somewhat conformable to the 
rude spirit of the times, he foresaw would be unsuccessful, and bring 
down upon his country increased rigour and oppression. His refusal 
provoked the choleric chieftain, and laid the foundation of an 
enmity which, though not immediately conspicuous, was not the less 
inveterate. I transcribe from Pennant the result of their quarrel : 

" Owen and this chieftain had been long at variance. I have been 
informed that the Abbot of Cymmer Abbey, near Dolgellen, in hopes 
of reconciling them, brought them together, and to all appearance, 
effected his charitable design. While they were walking out, Owen 
observed a doe feeding, and told Howel, who was reckoned the best 
archer of his day, that there was a fine mark for him. Howel bent 
his bow, and pretending to aim at the doe, suddenly turned, and 
discharged the arrow full at the breast of Glyndwr, who fortunately 
had armour beneath his clothes, so received no hurt. Enraged at 
this treachery, he seized on Sele, burnt his house, and hurried him 
away from the place; nor could any one ever learn how he was 
disposed of, till forty years after, when the skeleton of a large man, 
such as Howel, was discovered in the hollow of a great oak, in which 
Owen was supposed to have immured him in reward of his perfidy." 

This oak, the terror of every peasant for miles round, t remained 
in its place till within these few years, when one morning, after a 
very violent storm, it was discovered, to the great regret of its worthy 
proprietor, blown to the ground, and its superannuated vitality 
destroyed for ever. All that could be done with it was done. Sir 
Robert had it manufactured into work-tables, cabinets, drinking- 
vessels, and, to extend its circulation still further, into snuff-boxes; 
these are distributed among the Baronet's friends, and highly are 
they valued by their fortunate possessors, not only as the gifts of a 

* The present very respectable proprietor of Nannau is a descendant of Owen's, 
whose family name was Vychan, now modernized and softened into Vaughan, and 
not Glyndwr. He was so called from his patrimony of Glyndwrdwy, near Cor- 
wen, in Merionethshire. 

t " And to this day the peasant still 

With cautious fear avoids the ground ; 
In each wild branch a spectre sees, 

And trembles at each rising sound." 

" Ceubren yr Ellyll, or The Spirit's Blasted Tree, A Legendary Tale ;" by the 
Rev. G. Warrington, inserted in the Notes to Scott's "Marmion." 

The Pedlar of Swaffham. 109 

gentleman almost idolized in Merionethshire, but as the relics of so 
venerable and remarkable a parent. 

The Pedlar of Swaffham. 
[1801, Part //., p. 792.] 

We have several traditional stories of the good fortune or benefac- 
tions of pedlars commemorated in the windows or other parts of our 
parochial churches. One of the most famous is at Swaffham, where 
the North aisle of the church is said to have been built by John 
Chapman, churchwarden in 1462 ; a rebus of his name having been 
carved in wood on part of his seat, representing him busied in his 
shop, and the initials J.C. conjoined near it, and the figure of a 
woman in two places looking over a shop-door, as also a pedlar with 
a pack on his shoulders, and below him what is commonly called a 
dog, but by Mr. Blomefield, iii. 507, from the muzzle and chain, 
supposed a bear, as painted in a window of 'the North aisle; these 
circumstances, laid together, have suggested an idea that he was a 
pedlar, which Mr. B. conceives very contrary to the habit in which 
he and she are represented in the uppermost window of this aisle. 
He, therefore, pronounced it a mere rebus of the name of Chapman. 

I cannot, however, help suspecting, that this same benefactor was 
a chapman by occupation as well as name, and that he took pains to 
perpetuate the memory of a fortunate hit in trade, whereby he was 
enabled to be such a benefactor to his parish church. As to Mr. 
B.'s objection, that, " had he been a pedlar, it would have been more 
commendable to have had a portraiture suitable to his calling, as is 
the picture of the pedlar who was a benefactor to the church of St. 
Mary, Lambeth, in Surrey, and to have been represented on the 
glass as the pedlar is, on his seat," it is of little weight. Chapman 
and pedlar were synonymous terms in that period of our commerce. 
Our laws consider a pedlar as a petty chapman ; but the inferiority 
of the commerce does not prevent a person's acquiring wealth by it. 
Though now obliged to take out a license to vend their wares, they 
were not under such restrictions before the Revolution. 

In further proof of the respectability of such a character it may be 
observed, that in the South window of the chancel at Mileham, in 
the same county of Norfolk, there is or was painted a man and wife 
and children praying to the Virgin Mary ; " over their heads 
' Peddar,' before them two horses travelling with packs on their 
backs, and under them Thomas Brown ;" whence it may be inferred 
that this man by such occupation attained an ability to present such 
a window, if not to repair or rebuild the whole or part of the chancel. 
(Blomefield, v. 1043.) 

Peddar's, or Pedlar's way, is a name given to a bank or raised 
road in some part of England; but the precise spot I cannot at 
present call to mind. [See Note 22.] Yours, etc., D. H. 

no Legends and Traditions. 

Peeping Tom of Coventry. 

[1826, Part II., pp. 20-24.] 

I inclose you a connected history I have lately formed, relative to 
Lady Godiva and her far-famed pageant, which was exhibited on 
Friday last, May 26, at Trinity Great Fair in this city ; and also a 
drawing of Peeping Tom, in the exact state in which he is carved, 
but divested of all paint and superfluous ornaments. 

In the early part of the reign of Edward the Confessor, Earl Leofric 
was lord of a large feudal territory in the middle of England, called 
Mercia, of which Coventry formed a part. It contained the present 
counties of Lincoln, Nottingham, Warwick, Leicester, Stafford, North- 
ampton, Worcester, Gloucester, Derby, Cheshire, Shropshire, and 
Oxford. By King Canute Leofric was made Captain-General of the 
Royal forces. After the death of Canute, he was chiefly instrumental 
in advancing to the crown Harold I., the son of that king. Edward 
the Confessor was principally indebted to Leofric for his elevation to 
the throne, and was subsequently protected, by his wisdom and power, 
from many of the turbulent machinations of Earl Godwyn. The 
Countess Godiva was sister to Thorold, Sheriff of Lincolnshire, a 
man much imbued with the piety prevalent in that age, as appears 
by his founding the Abbey of Spalding. She is said, by Ingulphus, 
to have been a most beautiful and devout lady. 

Leofric, in conjunction with his Countess Godiva (called also 
Godeva, Godina, and Goditha), founded a monastery in Coventry in 
1044, near the ruins of a Saxon nunnery, for an abbot and 24 Bene- 
dictine monks. Leofric bestowed on it one-half of the town in which 
it was situated, and 24 lordships in this and other counties. The 
king and the Archbishop of Canterbury, with a long train of mitred 
churchmen and powerful nobles, were witnesses to the act of endow- 

Leofric died in 1057, at an advanced age, at his house at Bromley, 
in Staffordshire, and was buried in a porch o/ the Monastery Church 
at Coventry. The time of the death of Godiva is not precisely 
known, but it is remarked by Dugdale that she was buried in the 
same monastery. 

The tale of Godiva * is related by an ancient historian, Matthew 
of Westminster. 

Whether it was owing to Leofric or not does not appear ; but 

* The reader is referred to Cough's " Additions to Camden," for further inquiries 
respecting the traditionary legend of the fair Godiva's public exhibition. Rudder, 
in his "History of Gloucestershire, " observes "that the privilege of cutting wood 
in the Herdnolls, by the parishioners of St. Briavel's Castle, Gloucestershire, is 
locally said to have been procured by some Earl of Hereford, then Lord of Dean 
Forest, on the same terms that Lady Godiva obtained the privileges for the 
inhabitants of Coventry." 

Peeping Tom of Coventry. 1 1 1 

Coventry was subject to a very severe tollage, which was paid to this 
feudal lord. The people complained grievously of the severity of the 
taxes, and applied to Godiva to intercede in their behalf. The great 
lords, to whom the towns belonged under the Anglo-Saxons, had the 
privilege of imposing taxes, which can now only be exercised by the 
representatives of the people in Parliament. The countess entreated 
her lord to give up his claim, but in vain. At last, wishing to put 
an end to her importunities, he told her, either in a spirit of bitter 
jesting, or with a playful raillery, that he would give up his tax, pro- 
vided she rode through Coventry naked, in the sight of all the people. 
She took him at his word, and said she would. It is probable, that 
as he could not prevail upon her to give up her design, he had sworn 
some religious oath when he made his promise : but be this as it 
may, he took every possible precaution to secure her modesty from 
insult. The people of Coventry were ordered to keep within doors, 
to close up all their windows and outlets, and not to give a glance 
into the streets upon pain of death. The day came, and Coventry, 
it may be imagined, was as silent as death. The lady went out at 
the door of her castle, was set on horseback, and at the same time 
divested of her wrapping garment, as if she had been going into a 
bath. Then, taking the fillet from her head, she let down her long 
and lovely tresses, which poured around her body like a veil ; 
and thus, with only her white legs remaining conspicuous, took her 
gentle way through the streets. We may suppose the scene taking 
place in the warm noon ; the doors all shut, the windows closed ; 
the earl and his court serious and wondering ; the other inhabitants 
reverently listening to hear the footsteps of the horse ; and, lastly, 
the lady herself, with a downcast but not a shamefaced eye, looking 
towards the earth through her flowing locks, and riding through the 
silent and deserted streets like an angelic spirit. 

The countess, having performed her journey, returned with joy to 
her husband, who consequently granted to the inhabitants a charter 
of freedom from servitude, evil customs, and exactions. The history 
was preserved in a picture of the earl and countess in a south window 
of Trinity Church, about the time of Richard II. He held a charter 
of freedom in his right hand, on which was the following inscription : 

" I Luriche (Leofric) for the love of thee 
Doe make Coventre tol-free." 

Mutilated figures of these personages still exist in a window in this 

It has been already mentioned that previous to her riding through 
the city, all the inhabitants were ordered, on pain of death, to shut 
themselves up in their houses ; but the curiosity of a certain tailor, it 
should seem, overcoming his fear, he ventured to take a single peep ; 
and as a punishment for violating the injunction of the noble lady, 

1 1 2 Legends and Traditions. 

was struck blind. It is also said that her horse neighed at the time, 
on which account horses were not afterwards toll-free, although the 
town was franchised in every other respect. 

This circumstance is commemorated to the present day by a 
grotesque figure called Peeping Tom, which appears looking out of a 
corner window or opening in a wall, in Smithford-street It is about 
six feet in height, and is an ancient full-length statue of a man in 
plate armour, with skirts. It is carved with the pedestal from a 
single block of oak, and the back is hollowed out in order to render 
it less ponderous. The crest of the helmet is nearly destroyed, and 
the arms were cut off at the elbows, in order to favour its present 
position of leaning out of the window. The latter were formed of 
separate pieces of wood, and fastened to the upper part of the arms 
by means of pegs, the remains of which are still visible. From the 
attitude in which the body was carved, and the right leg and foot 
armed, being in advance, there is reason to believe that the figure 
was in a posture of attack, and probably might be intended to re- 
present St. George with a shield on his left arm, and a sword or 
ancient spear in his right hand, transfixing a dragon. Or it might 
represent some other warlike chieftain exhibited in the pageants, 
when our monarchs occasionally visited the city. 

It is absurd to suppose that the figure thus accoutred was intended, 
in the eleventh century, viz., at the period when Godiva flourished, 
to resemble a mechanic. The long wig and cravat or neckcloth, its 
usual habiliments (until lately), are characteristic of the reign of 
Charles II., at which period it is certain that the present form of the 
procession had its origin. The effigy is also usually decorated with 
a cocked hat, and with the addition of paint to represent clothing, is 
so metamorphosed that he who carved it would scarcely now be able 
to recognise the work of his dexterity. The early historians (as has 
been previously mentioned) give a lengthened detail of Godiva riding 
through the public streets, yet not one, including the late Sir W. 
Dugdale, even hint at the circumstance in question. We may safely, 
therefore, appropriate it to the reign of Charles II. 

In the reign of Henry III. (1217), Ranulph, Earl of Chester, pro- 
cured from that monarch a charter for an annual Fair, to begin on 
the Friday in Trinity week, and to continue for the space of eight 

From an early period, the mayor and his brethren, with their armed 
guard, minstrels, and other attendants, were accustomed to proclaim 
this fair on the first day through the city, and the different trading 
companies sent men cased in black armour to join the cavalcade, 
which from the colour were denominated Black guards. In times of 
danger, detachments of these men were sent to aid the national 
armies. Some faint resemblance of this custom is still apparent at 
the present day. The necessity of an armed force to keep peace and 

Peeping Tom of Coventry. \ 1 3 

order during this fair, which lasted eight days, is not improbable ; 
and it is well known that formerly each company possessed several 
suits of armour. 

In 1677 (shortly after the lamentable civil war, which doubtless 
materially injured every description of trade, and during the licentious 
reign of Charles II.) the procession at the great fair was first insti- 
tuted At that period a female intended to represent the benevolent 
patroness of the city was procured to ride in the cavalcade. That 
singular figure called Peeping Tom (the Coventry Palladium, as he 
is aptly termed) was placed in an exalted situation in the High Street, 
to the admiration of the spectators ; and there are many who even at 
the present day have a high opinion of his sagacity and discernment. 

The city companies also very materially assisted in the new pro- 
cession. They provided new flags and streamers, on which were 
painted their different arms, and attired the attendants on the 
followers in various antique frocks and caps, to which those now in 
use are similar. Boys, fancifully dressed, were likewise set out by 
the companies, which custom is supposed to have received its origin 
from naked children being exhibited in the religious pageants, in- 
tended to represent angels, or other celestial attendants. 

The following is a list of the followers that rode at this Institution : 
Company of drapers, 2 boys ; mercers, 2 ; blacksmiths, i ; clothiers, i ; 
fellmongers, i ; bakers, i ; tylers, i ; the mayor, 2 ; the sheriffs, 2 ; 
shearmen and taylors, i ; feltmakers, i ; shoemakers, i ; butchers, i ; 
and the city, 2. 

The show (although not depending on any charter) was an annual 
occurrence until within these few years, but it is now only occasion- 
ally presented. The inhabitants of the city are always found to 
contribute liberally to the support of this popular exhibition ; and a 
committee is generally appointed to superintend the ulterior arrange- 
ments. For some previous weeks the greatest preparations are made 
in the city the houses are newly painted and white-washed, and 
ribbons and cockades are distributed in profusion to those who are 
to be employed in the procession. The morning of the festival is 
ushered in by the ringing of bells every species of vehicle, from 
the humble cart to the splendid carriage, is observed moving to the 
attractive scene, and the streets, houses, and battlements of the 
churches are thronged with spectators. 

Prior to the movement of the grand cavalcade through the principal 
streets, the mayor, magistrates, and charter officers regularly attend 
divine service at Trinity Church. 

At twelve o'clock the procession moves forward from the county 
hall, and having passed through all the principal streets of the city, 
terminates at the same place about half-past three. The boys 
belonging to the Bablake School occasionally sing the national 
anthem in different parts of the city ; which, intermingled with the 

VOL. iv. 8 

Legends and Traditions. 

ringing of bells, and the melodious sounds arising from successive 
bands of martial music, form altogether a scene beyond the power of 
language to describe. 

At the head of the procession, walking two and two, are the city 
guards attired in suits of black armour of the make of the lyth 
century, which have lately been repaired and painted, viz., corselets, 
back pieces, skirts, with morions on their heads, and bills of different 
shapes in their hands. Then immediately follows, on a charger, the 
patron of England, St George, in full black armour. St George is 
the patron saint of the Taylors' Company in Coventry. He is re- 
presented by the author of the Seven Champions of Christendom to 
have been born, and afterwards to have resided, in the town ; and an 
ancient building called St. George's Chapel was lately taken down in 
Gosford Street 

Two large city streamers are next brought to view, beautifully 
gilded and painted with various devices, on which are depicted the 
city arms, viz. an elephant with a triple-towered castle on his back, 
with a cat-a-mountain forming the crest, and three ostrich feathers, 
given to Coventry by Edward Prince of Wales, commonly called the 
Black Prince. 

The high constable then advances, followed by a female to re- 
present Lady Godiva, who rides on a grey horse, not literally, like the 
good countess, with her own dishevelled hair, but in white linen 
closely fitted to her limbs. She is sometimes habited in a slight 
drapery, which reaches nearly to her knees, and which is tastefully 
decorated with wreaths of flowers. Her long tresses are also beauti- 
fully curled and adorned with a fillet of flowers, the whole being sur- 
mounted by a handsome plume of white ostrich feathers. On each 
side are the city crier and beadle, with pink cockades in their hats : 
they are also distinguished by wearing the elephant and castle (in 
silver) on their left arms the left side of this dress is green ; the 
right scarlet, agreeing with the field of the city arms. 

Every person conversant in the history of England will recollect 
that the red rose was the peculiar mark of distinction of the House 
of Lancaster and its adherents. Henry VI. made Coventry a county, 
conferring on it many privileges and immunities. The colour uni- 
versally adopted by the citizens of Coventry was consequently red 
or pink, and it has thus passed through succeeding ages to the 
present day. 

The persons who lead the horses and otherwise attend the corpora- 
tion are dressed in waistcoats ; and ribbons of this colour are tied 
round the arms and knees. 

Then follow the mayor's crier, who occasionally proclaims the 
fair, and persons carrying the ancient and costly insignia of office 
belonging to the corporation, viz., the sword and large mace, and 
crimson velvet hat and cap of maintenance. 

Peeping Tom of Coventry. \ \ 5 

We next view the mayor and ten aldermen, in their scarlet gowns 
lined with fur, and cocked hats, with wands in their hands. Then 
follow the two sheriffs, common council, two chamberlains (who have 
the management of the common and lammas grounds), and two 
wardens, all dressed in black gowns, and bearing wands. 

The mayor, charter officers, the masters of companies, and the 
stewards of the societies, are attended by little boys, beautifully and 
splendidly dressed in various coloured clothes, trimmed with silver or 
gold fringe ; their hats adorned with plumes of feathers, their horses 
gaily dressed with rosettes of ribbon, and saddle-cloths trimmed in a 
tasteful and superior manner. These children are called followers, 
although they sometimes precede the persons to whom they belong. 

The masters of the different companies, with their followers and 
streamers, add considerably to the splendour of the cavalcade. Each 
company has a characteristic flag, on which is painted the arms, and 
the follower carries a symbol of the respective trade. The ancient 
dresses of the attendants are also highly deserving of attention. 

The loyal independent order of Odd Fellows and the benefit 
societies, attended by their followers and flags, are next observed. 
Then follow the Woolcombers' Company, attired in large jersey wigs 
and habits, dyed of different colours, and a singular woollen flag, 
which add considerably to the novelty of the scene. After the Master 
and follower are a beautiful boy and girl, representing a shepherd and 
shepherdess, holding crooks, sitting under a spacious arbour composed 
of boughs and flowers, erected on a carriage drawn by horses ; the 
boy carrying a dog, and the girl, elegantly dressed, carrying a lamb 
upon her lap, and holding a bouquet of flowers, made of wool. Until 
lately they were accustomed to ride separately on horses, with the 
above attributes 

We then notice Jason, with a golden fleece in his left hand, and a 
drawn sword in his right, as the champion and protector of the 

The last prominent figure in the procession is the venerable 
Bishop Blaze, with his black mitre of wool and lawn sleeves, carrying 
a Bible in his left hand, and a woolcomb in the right. Over his 
white shirt two broad black belts of jersey are crossed, which con- 
siderably add to the singular appearance of this character. The 
bridle is held on each side by a page ; and his attendants are dressed 
in white, with sashes, scarfs, and high caps, all made of wool and 
wands. Blaze suffered martyrdom, by decapitation, in the year 289, 
after being cruelly whipped with scourges, and his flesh lacerated with 
iron combs (whence his symbol). The woolcombers call Bishop 
Blaze their patron Saint ; and they attribute to him, erroneously, the 
invention of their useful art. [See ante, p. 65.] 

It only remains for us to remark, that this popular procession is 
unequalled for its novelty and variety. Worcester, Chester, and 

n6 Legends and Traditions. 

other towns have occasionally public exhibitions, but they are 
generally on a confined scale, and by no means possess those splendid 
attractions which are to be seen in the grand procession at Coventry. 
We therefore anxiously trust that this ancient pageant will ever meet 
with public encouragement, and that it may descend to future genera- 
tions with the same degree of splendour in which it is exhibited at 
the present day. [See Note 23.] 

Yours, etc., W. READER. 

Legend of the Wild Cat. 

(From Hunter's "History of Doncaster") 

[1828, Part !., fp. 390, 391.] 

Respecting the manner of Percival Cresacre's death, there is a 
romantic tradition, firmly believed at Barnborough [co. York], and 
the figure of the lion couchant at the foot of the oaken statue is 
appealed to in confirmation of it ; as is also a rubiginous stone in the 
pavement of the porch. The tradition is, that he was attacked by 
a wild cat from one of the little woods of Barnborough, and that 
there was a running fight till they reached the porch of the church, 
where the mortal combat ended in the death of both. 

Whatever portion of truth there may be in the story, it is evident 
that it derives no support from the image of the lion in the monu- 
ment, or the tincture of the stone in the porch, which is only one of 
many such found near Barnborough. That some such incident did 
occur in the family of Cresacre is rendered, however, in some degree 
probable, by the adoption by them of the cat-a-mountain for their 
crest, which may be seen over their arms on the tower of the church. 
On the other hand, it may have been that the accidental adoption of 
the crest may have laid the foundation of the story. That the cat 
was anciently considered as a beast of chase, is evident from many 
proofs, going back to the age of the Confessor, in whose charter to 
Ranulph Piperking, supposing it to be genuine, there is given to him, 
with the forest of Chalmer and Dancing in Essex, 

" Hart and hind, doe and bock, 
Fox and cat, hare and brock." 

And again, 

" Four greyhounds and six raches 
For hare and fox and wild cates." 

In 6 John, Gerard Camvile had license to hunt the hare, fox, and 
wild cat. In 23 Henry III. the Earl Warren obtained from Simon 
Pierrepoint leave to hunt the buck, doe, hart, hind, hare, fox, goat, 
cat, or any other wild beast, in certain lands of Simon. In 1 1 Ed- 
ward I., Thomas, the second Lord Berkeley, had license of the king 
to hunt the fox, hare, badger, and wild cat ; and in 10 Edward III., 
John Lord Roos had license to hunt the fox, wolf, hare, and cat, 
throughout the king's forests of Nottinghamshire. All this, however, 

Legends of the Monastery of St. Hilda. 1 1 7 

proves little for the tradition, which as a tradition only must be 
allowed to remain, only observing that in other parts of the district 
I have heard the wild cat spoken of as still an object of terror, and 
as haunting the woods. 

Legends of the Monastery of St. Hilda. 

[1828, Part //., //. 22, 23.] 

There are many curious legends connected with the monastery and 
vicinity, which have been variously said and sung in prose and verse, 
but to mention one half of which would encroach upon your columns. 
The very signature of your correspondent, " The Hermit of Eskdale- 
side," is calculated to draw attention to a strange but pleasing tale, 
connected with the noble families of Bruce and Percy, once seated 
there : the hermitage of Eskdaleside, the boar-hunt in the forest of 
Eskdale, and consequent fatal death of a hermit ; the singular penance 
enjoined upon the hunters and their successors for ever, and which 
is still annually performed in the haven of Whitby. The story may be 
thus compressed : 

On the 1 6th day of October, in the fifth year of Henry the Second, 
the lords of Ugglebarnby and Sneaton, accompanied by a principal 
freeholder, with their hounds, staves, and followers, went to chase the 
wild boar, in the woods of Eskdaleside, which appertained to the 
abbot of Whitby. They found a large boar, which on being sore 
wounded and dead run, took in at the hermitage of Eskdale, where 
a hermit, a monk of Whitby, was at his devotions, and there the 
exhausted animal lay down. The hermit closed the door of the cell, 
and continued his meditations, the hounds standing at bay without. 
The hunters, being thrown behind their game in the thick of the forest 
followed the cry of the hounds, and at length came to the hermitage. 
On the monk being roused from his orisons by the noise of the 
hunters, he opened the door and came forth. The boar had died 
within the hermitage, and because the hounds were put from their 
game, the hunters violently and cruelly ran at the hermit with their 
boar-staves, and of the wounds which they inflicted he subsequently 
died. The gentlemen took sanctuary in a privileged place at Scar- 
borough, out of which the abbot had them removed, so that they were 
in danger of being punished with death. The hermit, being a holy 
man and at the last extremity, required the abbot to send for those 
who had wounded him ; and upon their drawing near, he said, " I 
am sure to die of these wounds." The abbot answered, " They shall 
die for thee." The devout hermit replied, " Not so, for I freely for- 
give them my death, if they be content to be enjoined to a penance 
for the safeguard of their souls." The gentlemen bade him enjoin 
what he would, so he saved their lives. The hermit then enjoined 
that they and theirs should for ever after hold their lands of the 

1 1 8 Legends and Traditions. 

abbot of Whitby and his successors, on this condition, that upon 
Ascension Eve they, or some for them, should come to the wood of 
the Strayhead, which is in Eskdaleside, the same day at sun-rising, 
and there the officer of the abbot should blow his horn, that they 
might know where to find him, who should deliver to them ten stakes, 
ten strout-stowers, and ten yedders, to be cut with a knife of a penny 
price, which were to be taken on their backs to Whitby, before nine 
of the clock on that day ; and at the hour of nine o'clock, as long 
as it should be low water (if it be full sea the service to cease) each 
of them to set their stakes at the brim of the water, a yard from one 
another, and so make a hedge with the stakes, stowers, and yedders, 
that it stand three tides without being removed by the force of the 
water. And the officer of Eskdaleside shall blow his horn, " Out on 
you ! out on you ! out on you !" Should the service be refused, so 
long as it is not full sea at the hour fixed, all their lands should be 
forfeited. Then the hermit said, " My soul longeth for the Lord, 
and I do as freely forgive these gentlemen my death as Christ forgave 
the thief upon the cross." And in the presence of the abbot and 
the rest, he said, " In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum 
meum : a vinculis enim mortis redemisti me, Domine veritatis. 
Amen." And then he yielded up the ghost on the i8th Dec. 

More ample details of this story may be found in Grose's Antiqui- 
ties, who pleads strongly for its authenticity, and has given a plate of 
the chapel or hermitage of Eskdaleside. The building still exists, 
but roofless and in ruins. The " penny hedge " still continues to be 
annually planted on the south side of the Esk in Whitby harbour, on 
Ascension Day, within high-water mark ; it has not yet happened to 
be high-water at the time fixed. The bailiff of Eskdaleside attends 
to see the condition performed, and the horn blows according to 
immemorial custom, out on them ! ! [See Note 24.] 

This romantic legend has been pleasingly paraphrased by the 
author of Marmion, in the second canto : 

" Then Whitby's nuns exulting told, 
How to their house three barons bold 

Must menial service do ; 
While horns blow out a note of shame, 
And monks cry, ' Fye upon your name, 
In wrath, for loss of sylvan game, 

Saint Hilda's priest ye slew.' 
This on Ascension Day each year, 
While labouring on our harbour pier, 
Must Herbert, Brace, and Percy hear." 

Yours, etc, RUSWARPIUS. 

/. Keyne' s Well. \ \ 9 

St. Keyne's Well. 

[799, PP- 193.194-] 

The enclosed verses on the well of St. Keyne appeared lately in 
the St. James's Chronicle ; and, as it is one of the Cornish natural 
wonders, I send you a sketch of the well. 

" A well there is in the West country, 

And a clearer one never was seen : 
There is not a wife in the West country 
But has heard of the well of St. Keyne. 

" An oak and an elm-tree stand behind, 
And beside does an ash-tree grow ; 
And a willow from the bank above 
Droops to the water below. 

"A trav'ler came to the well of St. Keyne, 

Pleasant it was to his eye ; 
For from cock-crow he had been travelling, 
And there was not a cloud in the sky. 

" He drank of the water so cool and clear, 

For thirsty and hot was he ; 
And he sat down upon the bank, 
Under the willow-tree. 

' There came a man from the neighbouring town, 

At the well to fill his pail ; 
On the well-side he rested it, 
And bade the stranger hail. 

" ' Now art thou a batchelor, stranger ?' quoth he, 

' For, if thou hast a wife, 

The happiest draught thou hast drank this day 
That ever thou didst in thy life. 

" ' Or has your good woman, if one you have, 

In Cornwall ever been ? 
For an if she have, I'll venture my life 
She has drank of the well of St. Keyne.' 

" ' I have left a good woman, who never was here,' 

The stranger he made reply ; 
' But that my draught should be better for that, 
I pray you answer me why ?' 

'"St. Keyne,' quoth the countryman, 'many a time, 

Drank of this crystal well ; 
And before the angel summoned her, 
She laid on the well a spell. 

I2O Legends and Traditions. 

" ' If the husband of this gifted well 

Shall drink before his wife, 
A happy man thenceforth is he, 
For he shall be master for life. 

" ' But if the wife should drink of it first, 

God help the husband then !' 
The stranger stoopt to the well of St. Keyne, 
And he drank of the waters again. 

" ' You drank of the well, I warrant, betimes ?' 

He to the countryman said ; 
But the countryman smil'd as the stranger spoke, 
And sheepishly shook his head. 

" ' I hasten'd as soon as the wedding was done, 

And left my wife in the porch ; 
But i' faith she had been wiser than me, 
For she took a bottle to church.' " 

Carew, in his " Survey of Cornwall," speaks of it as follows : 
" Next I will relate you another of the Cornish natural wonders, 
viz., St. Kayne's well ; but, lest you make a wonder first at the saint, 
before you take notice of the well, you must understand that this was 
not Kayne the manqueller, but one of a gentler spirit and milder sex, 
to wit, a woman. He who caused the spring to be pictured added 
this rhyme for an exposition : 

" In name, in shape, in quality, 

This well is very quaint ; 
The name to lot of Kayne befell, 

To over-holy saint. 
The shape, four trees of divers kinde, 

Withy, oke, elme, and ash, 
Make with their roots an arched roofe, 

Whose floore this spring doth wash. 
The quality, that man or wife, 

Whose chance or choice attaines 
First of this sacred streame to drinke, 

Thareby the mastry gaines." 

Carew's "Survey of Cornwall," p. 130. 

The well is formed of stone worked in a coarse manner ; and at 
the end is a small niche, which formerly might have contained an 
image of the saint probably. There is nothing curious in the well 
itself; but the five trees which grow on it are certainly well worth 
seeing ; they seem at the bottom to be incorporated. The elm is a 
remarkably fine one. These trees must be very old, for Carew wrote 
his "Survey" about 1600. The sketch was taken in July, 1795 ; the 

Legend of the Brothers Steps. \ 2 1 

trees had not long before been pruned up, of course they are now 
more woody. The well is on the side of the high-road. To whom 
it belongs, I know not. It is hoped the owner will never suffer the 
trees to be cut down. Yours, etc., B. E. L. 

Legend of the Brothers' Steps. 

[1804, Part II,, p. 1194.] 

I send you for insertion a copy of an old letter in my possession, 
respecting "The Brothers' Steps." If any correspondent can give 
any farther account of them, it will be esteemed as a favour. 


To MR. JOHN WARNER, near Holborn Bridge, London. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, July 17, 1778. 

According to your request, I shall give you all the particulars 
I have been able to collect concerning the Brothers' Steps. They 
are situate in the field about half a mile from Montague House, in a 
North direction ; and the prevailing tradition concerning them is, 
that two brothers quarrelled about a worthless woman, and as it was 
the fashion of those days, as it is now, they decided it by a duel. 
The print of their feet is near three inches in depth, and remains 
totally barren ; so much so, that nothing will grow to disfigure them. 
Their number I did not reckon, but suppose they may be about 
ninety. A bank on which the first fell, who was mortally wounded 
and died on the spot, retains the form of his agonising posture by the 
curse of barrenness, while the grass grows round it. A friend of 
mine showed me these steps in the year 1760, when he could trace 
them back by old people to the year 1686; but it was generally 
supposed to have happened in the early part of the reign of Charles II. 
There are people now living who well remember their being ploughed 
up, and barley sown, to deface them ; but all was labour in vain ; for 
the prints returned in a short time to their original form. There is 
one thing I nearly forgot to mention : that a place on the bank is 
still to be seen, where, tradition says, the wretched woman sat to see 
the combat. I am sorry I can throw no more light on the subject ; 
but am convinced in my own opinion that the Almighty has ordered 
it as a standing monument of His just displeasure of the horrid sin 
of duelling. I remain, your loving friend, 


%* Since the above was written, they have been enclosed from 
public view, or nearly built over. WM. HERBERT. 

1 2 2 Legends and Traditions. 

The Stepney Lady. 

[i 794, Part I., pp. 128, 129.] 

You may give Three Stars or Eusebia's compliments, which you 
please, to Mr. Malcolm, and acquaint him, I should have answered 
his obliging reply to my query (concerning the lady buried at Stepney) 
sooner [see Note 25]; but I have been hunting the ballad stalls for the 
old song without success; though all the old women are well acquainted 
with it, my memory is not good enough to give any stanzas of it as a 
specimen, so the story shall be at Mr. M.'s service in humble prose. 
A gentleman, benighted in travelling, is sheltered in a cottage, where 
the good wife is in labour ; he draws the horoscope of the infant, 
and finds it destined to be his future bride ; this his pride revolting 
against, he pretends compassion to the circumstances of the parents, 
who are easily induced to part with one child from a numerous brood 
to a rich man, who promises to provide so much better for it than 
they can : he carries it off with an intention to destroy it, but, not 
being hardened enough to imbrue his hands in its blood, he leaves it 
in some lonely forest, to, at least, as certain destruction ; here some 
shepherd or cottager finds it, takes it home to his wife, who nurses 
it with great tenderness, as has been ever usual in these stories, 
from the time of Romulus and Remus. She grows up in all the 
bloom of beauty. Again her future spouse is drawn by his stars to 
this spot ; stricken with her charms, but hearing her history, from 
her supposed father, is again enraged, and meditates her death ; 
covering his design with pretended love, gets her a second time into 
his hands ; again melted by her tears and petitions, throws his ring 
into a river they was near, vowing to destroy her if ever she appeared 
before him without that ring. After several adventures, she gets into 
service as a cook in a family. Here, gutting a large fish, to her 
great astonishment she finds this ring, which she carefully ke.eps ; 
and, not long after, he comes ; threatens ; but, on seeing the ring, 
finds it in vain to resist destiny ; and, her planet having now the full 
ascendancy, they form a very happy conjunction. I do not know, 
Mr. Urban, whether you will think this old woman's tale worth insert- 
ing. I have endeavoured to relate it as concisely as I could. 

Yours, etc., EUSEBIA. 


[1807, Part I., p. 304.] 

I have observed that popular traditions, however obscure, may 
generally be traced to some source, and that their obscurity originates 
as much in the uncertainty of our ancient language as in the imper- 
fections of oral tradition. The following conjecture upon a village 
tradition is founded on this principle. The tenor of the old peal of 
bells that hung formerly in the steeple of St. John's Church, Margate, 

Daundelyon. 123 

in Kent, was inscribed " Daundelyon," and Lewis says, in his 
" History of the Isle of Thanet," that this was the gift of John 
Daundelyon to the church, and that in his time the inhabitants 
repeated this traditionary rhyme concerning it : 

"John de Daundelyon, with his great dog, 
Brought over this bell on a mill-cog." 

This verse has not been forgotten in the parish, though the bell has 
been removed ; and amongst others the worthy author of the " Isle 
of Thanet Guide, 1797," has these lines after describing the interior 
of the church : 

" But on the North John Dandelyon lies, 
Whose vondrous deeds our children yet surprize : 
Still at his feet his faithful dog remains, 
Who with his master equal notice claims ; 
1 or, by their joint exertions, legends tell, 
They brought from far the ponderous tenor bell !" 

The absurdity of a bell having been brought from any place upon 
a mill-cog, or tooth of one wheel acting upon another, has probably 
prevented any one from bestowing a second thought upon the sub- 
ject ; but " cog," or " cogge," was an old Teutonic word for a ship, 
used sometimes in old French, and, if my memory does not fail me, 
occurs more than once in Barclay's " Shippe of Poles ;" and a parish 
church in Oxfordshire, that once belonged to the Knights Templars, 
is still called " cogges," with a ship on the vane ; and in France 
formerly " mal " was frequently used as an adjective, as in " mal- 

These two words, therefore, seem to me to mean no more than 
that John Daundelyon, having procured a bell for the use of the 
church, brought it into the island on a " mal-cogge," or battered 
vessel, and a long course of years has altered the words to others, 
allied only in sound, but more easily comprehended by the relaters. 


Legend of Hoston-stone. 

[1813, Part I., pp. 318, 319.] 

Some years ago I communicated some remarks, which were 
inserted in the History of Leicestershire, concerning the stone called 
by the inhabitants of Humberston " Hoston-stone," or " Hoston ;" 
meaning, perhaps, High-stone. I have always regarded this stone, 
though now little noticed, as a very curious object; and having made 
myself of late years better acquainted than when I wrote before with 
the subjects with which I imagine this stone to be connected, I offer 
the following remarks, as correcting, in some measure, my former 

This stone is one of those blocks of granite found very frequently 
in the neighbourhood, and supposed by the celebrated De Luc to be 

1 24 Legends and Traditions. 

fragments cast up by some convulsion of the earth from the primary 
and deepest strata. The Hoston-stone lies on the ridge of an 
eminence, which, though not the highest of the neighbouring hills, is 
yet very conspicuous for a vast distance from the West. Some old 
persons in the neighbourhood, still living, remember when it stood a 
very considerable height, perhaps eight or ten feet, in an artificial 
fosse or hollow. About fifty or sixty years ago the upper parts of the 
stone were broken off, and the fosse levelled, that a plough might 
pass over it ; but, according to the then frequent remark of the 
villagers, the owner of the land who did this deed never prospered 
afterwards. He certainly was reduced from being the owner of five 
" yard-land," to use the then common phrase, or about one hundred 
and twenty acres, to absolute poverty, and died about six years ago 
in the parish workhouse. This superstitious opinion attached to the 
stone, together with the following circumstances, persuade me to think 
that the stone was what is usually called "Druidical." It possibly may 
have been a logon, or rocking-stone ; but of this there certainly is no 

There are, or rather were, about fifty years ago, traditionary tales 
in the village that a nunnery once stood on Hoston ; and that steps 
had been found communicating subterraneously with the monks of 
Leicester Abbey, about two miles distant. But no religious house of 
this kind is to be traced here. The tale must have owed its origin 
to circumstances connected with the religion of earlier times ; pro- 
bably anterior to the introduction of Christianity into Britain ; and 
therefore during the prevalence of the idolatry of the Britons. 

Some years ago it was believed that fairies inhabited, or at least 
frequented, this stone ; and various stories were told concerning 
those pigmy beings. Such, according to the testimony of Borlase, 
in his " History of Cornwall," is the common opinion respecting the 
many druidical stones in that county. This belief was so strongly 
attached to the Hoston-stone, that some years ago a person visiting 
it alone, fancied he heard it utter a deep groan ; and he immediately 
ran away to some labourers, about two hundred yards distant, terrified 
with the apprehension of seeing one of the wonderful fairy inhabitants. 

In the adjoining vale, at the distance of about one hundred yards 
from the stone, on the north-east, is a plot of ground known, before 
the inclosure of the lordship, by the name of " Hell-hole Furlong." 
No circumstance belonging at present to the spot seems likely to 
have given rise to this strange name : it leaves room therefore for the 
conjecture that in this quarter the sacrifices, too often human, were 
wont to be performed ; and that from this circumstance it obtained 
the Saxon name of " Hela," or " Death." 

From these circumstances, and also from the situation of the stone 
on an eminence, such as were usually chosen for the celebration of 
the religious rites of the ancient British, there seems to be little room 

Legend of Hoston-stone. 125 

for doubt that Hoston was once sacred to the purposes of druidical, 
or rather of the more ancient bardic worship. These spots are in 
some places still termed " Homberds," or " Humberds," probably 
from the Erse word (according to Vallancey) uam, or owim, signifying 
fear or terror, and bardh, the name of a well-known order of priests. 
The word humberd, thus compounded, is but too justly applicable to 
the scenes of Bardic worship, which were terrible, both from the 
character of Dis, or Pluto, whom they especially worshipped, and from 
the rites by which he was propitiated. 

These conjectures and opinions derive further support from the 
name of the village within whose liberties this stone is situate. Hum- 
berston is very plainly the ton, or town, of the Humberd, or sacred 
place of bardic worship ; for the village stands on the south side of 
the ridge, of which Hoston-height is part ; and about half a mile 
from the stone, which is as near as habitations seem to have been 
allowed to approach those dreadfully sacred places. The name of 
Humberston belongs to a village on the coast of Lincolnshire, near 
Grimsby. Should there be any Humberd near it, the conclusion 
must be, not only that the Lincolnshire village, but the river Humber 
itself, derived their names from a place of bardic worship. 

Yours, etc., J. D. 

The Grey Geese of Addlestrop Hill. 

[1808, Part I., pp. 341-343.] 

The following ballad was written at Daylesford, the residence of 
Warren Hastings, Esq., and was suggested by the circumstance of 
his having removed a number of large stones, which lay in the neigh- 
bourhood, to form the rock -work which adorns his grounds, furnishing 
materials chiefly for a little island, and the declivities of an artificial 
cascade. These stones, which were situated on the summit of a hill 
in the parish of Addlestrop, in Gloucestershire, near the point where 
it borders upon the three adjoining counties, had stood for time 
immemorial ; and whether they owed their position to art or nature, 
accident or design, has never been determined ; but popular tradition, 
as is usual in cases of the like dilemma, has furnished a ready solu- 
tion to this inquiry, by ascribing their origin to enchantment. It is 
accordingly pretended that as an old woman was driving her geese 
to pasture upon Addlestrop Hill, she was met by one of the weird 
sisters, who demanded alms, and upon being refused, converted the 
whole flock into so many stones, which have ever since retained the 
name of the " Grey Geese of Addlestrop Hill." In relating this 
metamorphosis, no variation has been made from the ancient legend ; 
nor has any deviation from truth been resorted to in the narration of 
their subsequent history, further than in attributing to the magical 
completion of a fictitious prophecy, what was in reality the effect of 

1 26 Legends and Traditions. 

taste and a creative invention in the amiable proprietors of Dayles- 
ford House : 

Beneath the grey shroud of a wintry cloud 

The Day-star dimly shone ; 
And the wind it blew chill upon Addlestrop Hill, 

And over the Four-shire Stone. 

But the wind and the rain they threatened in vain ; 

Dame Alice was up and away : 
For she knew to be healthy, and wealthy, and wise, 
Was early to bed, and early to rise, 

Tho' never so foul the day. 

O, foul was the day, and dreary the way ; 

St. Swithin the good woman shield ! 
For she quitted her bower in an evil hour 

To drive her geese a-field. 

To rival this flock, howev'er they might mock, 

Was never a wight could aspire ; 
The geese of Dame Alice bred envy and malice 

Through many a bordering Shire. 

No wonder she eyed with delight and with pride 

Their plumes of glossy grey : 
And she counted them o'er, and she counted a score, 

And thus to herself 'gan say : 

"A score of grey geese at a groat a-piece* 

Makes six and eightpence clear ; 
Add a groat, 'tis enow to furnish a cow, 

And I warrant, we'll make good cheer." 

But ah ! weil-a-day ;"Jno mortal may say 

What fate and fortune ordain ; 
Or Alice, I ween, had her loss foreseen, 
Where most she look'd for gain. 

And didst thou not mark the warnings dark ? 

'Twas all on a Friday morn 
She tripp'd unawares as she hurried downstairs, 

And thrice was her kirtle torn. 

And thrice by the way went the gander astray 

Ere she reached the foot of the hill ; 
And the raven's croak from a neighbouring oak 

Proclaim'd approaching ill. 

* We are told that at an early period of our history a goose was sold for three- 
pence, and a cow for seven shillings. The superiority of Dame Alice's geese in 
their original state, to judge of them by their present size, must plead her excuse 
for estimating them at a penny above the market price. 

The Grey Geese of Addiestrop Hill. 127 

And now and O now had she climb'd the steep brow 

To fatten her flock on the common, 
When full in her path, to work her scath, 

She met with a Weird Woman. 

This Hag she was foul both in body and soul, 

All wild and tatter'd in trim, 
And pale was the sheen of her age-wither'd een 

Was never a witch so grim. 

And " Give me," quoth she, " of thy fair poultry 

Or dear shall thou rue this day." 
So hoarse was the note of the Beldam's throat, 

That the geese they hiss'd with dismay. 

But the Dame she was stout, and could fleer and could flout 

" Gramercy ! good gossip," she cried, 
" Would ye taste of my fry, ye must barter and buy, 

Tho' weal or woe betide. 

" 'T were pity in sooth, 'gin ye had but a tooth, 

Ye should lack for a giblet to chew : 
Belike of the claw, and the rump, and the maw, 

A Hell-broth ye mean to brew." 

O, sour looked the Hag ; and thrice did she wag 

Her hoar head scatter'd with snow : 
And her eye thro' the gloom of wrath and of rheum 

Like a Comet predicted woe. 

And anon she began to curse and to ban 

With loud and frantic din. 
But the spell which she mutter'd must never be utter'd, 

For that were a deadly sin. 

Then sudden she soars in the whirlwind, and roars 

To the deep-voic'd thunder amain ; 
And the lightning's glare envelops the air, 

And shivers the rocks in twain. 

But Alice she lay 'mid the wrack and the fray 

Entranc'd in a deathlike swoon, 
'Till the sheep were in fold, and the curfew toll'd 

She arose by the light of the moon. 

And much did she muse at the cold evening dews 

That reflected the pale moon-beam ; 
But more at the sight that appear'd by its light 

And she counted it all a dream. 

128 Legends and Traditions. 

O what is yon heap that peers o'er the steep, 
'Mid the furze and the hawthorn glen ? 

With trembling and fear the Dame she drew near, 
And she knew "her own geese again ! 

But alas ! the whole flock stood as stiff as a stock ! 

And she number'd them one by one. 
All grisly they lay, and they lie to this day, 

A flock as it were of grey stone ! 

" Thy birds are not flown," cried a voice to her moan ; 

" O never again shall they fly, 
Till Evenlode flow to the steeple at Stow 

And Oddington mount as high. 

" But here shall the.y stand, forlorn on dry land, 
And parch in the drought and the blast. 

Nor e'er bathe a feather, save in fog and foul weather, 
'Till many an age be past. 

" More fetter'd and bound than geese in a pound, 

Could aught their bondage atone ; 
They shall ne'er dread the feast of St. Michael at least, 

Like geese of flesh and bone. 

" But pitying fate at length shall abate 

The rigour of this decree. 
By the aid of a sage in a far distant age ; 

And he comes from the East country. 

" A Pundit his art to this seer shall impart ; 

Where'er he shall wave his wand, 
The hills shall retire, and the valleys aspire, 

And the waters usurp the land. 

"Then, Alice, thy flock their charm shall unlock, 

And pace with majestic stride, 
From Addlestrop Heath to Daylesford beneath, 

To lave in their native tide. 

" And one shall go peep like an Isle o'er the deep, 

Another delighted wade, 
At the call of this wizard, to moisten her gizzard 

By the side of a fair cascade. 

" This sage to a dame shall be wedded, whose name 
Praise, honour, and love shall command ; 

By poets renown'd, and by courtesy crown'd 
The queen of that fairy-land !" 

Legend of a Stone at Kellington, Yorkshire. \ 29 

Here ceas'd the high strain but seek not in vain 

To unravel the dark record : 
Enough that ye wot, 'twas trac'd to the spot 

By a clerk of Oxenford. 


Legend of a Stone at Kellington, Yorkshire. 

[1831, Partll.,p. 15.] 

In the churchyard, which for the place is rather unusually large, 
lies an old stone in a horizontal position, upon which very legibly 
appears, in the middle a cross, on the right side of which is a recum- 
bent figure of a man with clasped hands, at his feet a dog, at his head 
something which cannot easily be deciphered, and on the left what 
seems to be a serpent , on each side of the top of the cross are also 
what appear to be two embossed circles. At the upper end of this 
lid or cover may also be seen, on another detached perpendicular 
stone, a similar cross ; no inscription whatever can be discovered on 
either. This, I conjecture, was the cover of a coffin. It perhaps 
may be objected that the breadth of the stone is not sufficiently large 
for that purpose. But may it not have been let into the coffin ? 
Marks of holes still remaining, where lead has been used, may per- 
haps strengthen this supposition. Where the stone was originally 
placed is entirely unknown. 

The traditionary account of this curious antiquarian relic is as 
follows : In former times the districts adjoining this place, from its 
marshy situation, and abounding much with low wood and shrubs, 
afforded a retreat for reptiles of several kinds, among which was 
reared a serpent of enormous size, which proved very destructive to 
the flocks of sheep which depastured in its vicinity. This, however, 
was at length subdued, though with the loss of his own life, as well 
as that of his faithful dog, by a shepherd of the name of Armroyd. 
The stone is supposed to be intended to commemorate this occur- 
rence ; the cross upon it being imagined to represent a crook or 
dagger, by which this fierce and terrible invader of his fleecy care 
was at last extirpated Armroyd Close, a parcel of ground situated 
at the point bounding the four divisions of the parish, and where it 
may well be supposed was placed a cross, is reported to have been 
given to the descendants of the courageous Armroyd for his signal 
services ; and the rectorial tythes of which were bequeathed by them 
to the Vicar of Kellington, while the landed property itself is vested 
in the Trustees for the Free-school at Tadcaster. 

Wayland Smith. 

[1821, Part I,, p. 198.] 

About a mile westward from White Horse Hill is a mutilated 
Druidical remain, bearing the appellation of " Wayland Smith." A 
VOL. iv. 9 

130 Legends and Traditions. 

singular tradition is connected with this name ; for the peasants in 
the neighbourhood relate that this mysterious spot was formerly in- 
habited by an invisible blacksmith, who good-naturedly shod any 
horse that was left here, provided a piece of money was deposited at 
the same time to reward the labours of the workman. The remains 
of this vestige of antient custom indicates its having been a large 
cromlech elevated on a barrow, and surrounded by a circle of up- 
right stones. [See Note 25.] . 

Legend of the Devil's Dike. 

[iSlO, Fart /.,/>/. 513, 514.] 

A Sussex Legend. 

Five hundred years ago, or more, 
Or, if you please, in days of yore ; 
That wicked wight yclept Old Nick, 
Renown'd for many a wanton trick, 
With envy, from the Downs, beheld 
The studded Churches of the Weald : 
(Here Poynings cruciform and there 
Hurst, Albourne, Bolney, Newtimber, 
Cuckfield, and more, with towering crest, 
Quce nunc prcescribere longitm est;) 
Oft heard the undulating chime 
Proclaim around 'twas service-time, 
While to the sacred house of pray'r 
Went many a pious worshipper. 

" Can I with common patience see 
These Churches and not one for me ? 
Shall I be cheated of my due 
By such a sanctimonious crew?" 
He mutter'd twenty things beside ; 
And swore, that night the foaming tide, 
Led through a vast and wondrous trench, 
Should give these pious souls a drench ! 

Adown the West the Steeds of Day 
Hasted merrily away, 
And Night in solemn pomp came on, 
Her lamp a star a cloud her throne : 
The lightsome Moon she was not there, 
But deckt the other hemisphere. 

Now, with a fit capacious spade, 
So large, it was on purpose made, 

Legend of the Devil's Dike. 131 

Old Nick began, with much ado, 

To cut the lofty Downs in two. 

At ev'ry lift his spade threw out 

A thousand waggon-load, no doubt ! 

O ! had he labour'd till the morrow, 

His envious work had wrought much sorrow ; 

The Weald, with verdant beauty grac'd, 

O'erwhelmed a sad and watery waste ! 

But, so it chanc'd, a good old dame 
Whose deed has long outliv'd her name, 
Wak'd by the cramp at midnight hour, 
Or just escap'd the night-mare's pow'r, 
Rose from her humble bed : when, lo ! 
She heard Nick's terrible ado ! 
And, by the star-light, faintly spy'd 
This wicked wight, and dike so wide. 
She knew him by his mighty size, 
His tail, his horns, his saucer eyes ; 
And while, with wonderment amaz'd, 
At workman and at work she gaz'd, 
Swift 'cross her mind a thought there flew, 
That she by stratagem might do 
A deed which luckily should save 
Her country from a watery grave, 
By his own weapons fairly beating 
The father of all lies and cheating ! 

Forth from her casement, in a minute, 
A sieve with flaming candle in it, 
She held to view : and simple Nick, 
Who ne'er suspected such a trick, 
(All rogues are fools,) when first his sight 
A full-orb'd luminary bright 
Beheld he fled his work undone 
Scar'd at the sight of a new Sun ; 
And muttering curses, that the Day 
Should drive him from his work away ! 

Night after night, this knowing dame 
Watch'd, but again Nick never came. 
Who now dare call the action evil 
" To hold a candle to the Devil !" 



132 Legends and Traditions. 

Traditional Story of & Water-Serpent. 

[1758. // 466, 467-] 

Some part of this summer I passed my time in the country, where, 
as it is usual with me when I am in these cool shades of solitude and 
retirement, my inquiries are directed towards anything that is curious 
in science; my course of studies having much led 'me this way. In 
consequence of a story, that I at first thought fabulous, I one day 
went out of curiosity to a farm, where the incident, I was told, was 
painted on the walls. Agreeable to the common report, the history 
of this singular transaction I found there, in the manner described 
to me. The story is thus : 

In the year 1578, which appears above the painting, in a pond sur- 
rounded with briars near the house, a water-serpent of an uncommon 
size was frequently seen by a woman, who belonged to the house, when 
she went to get water. The creature,.whenever she came, made ad- 
vances to her ; perhaps for the reason which Sallust gives, speaking 
of serpents, Quarum vis inopia cibi acrior. The woman, terrified 
at his appearance, told the story to her neighbours, who advised her 
one day to sit near the pond side, while some of them stood behind 
the briars, with an intention to shoot it, if possible, when it advanced 
towards her. The thing was accordingly effected, and the skin of the 
( reature, according to the tradition of the place, was hung up without- 
side the house, stuffed with straw, for many years ; but in process of 
time, by being so exposed, decayed. Ever since the year when this 
thing happened, the story has been painted on the walls of the refec- 
tory or hall ; for I find the house was formerly, by the arms visible in 
many places, an hospital for the Knights Templars. And, as it can- 
not be supposed that the first painting could continue to this time on 
the bare wall, as often as it has been in a state of decay, so often has it 
been renewed. The present painting was done about forty years 
since, by the famous Rowell, the glass-stainer. About half a mile in 
a vale beneath this house stands the church of Hitchendon in the 
county of Bucks, where I find some of these knights were buried, 
having myself seen their figures in the Gothic position, at full length 
on the pavement, in their military accoutrements. The imagination 
of the painter has given the serpent wings and legs, which has made 
some people suppose the whole fabulous ; but that the story, ex- 
clusive of these emendations of the painter, is in every respect true, 
is plain from the traditional accounts of sensible judicious people 
hereabouts, and from the pencilled record of it on the wall of the 

Yours, etc., EDGAR BOCHART. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 133 

Fragments of Erse Poetry (Ossian) collected in the 

[1760,^.287, 288.] 

Two Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands of 
Scotland, and translated from the Gallic or Erse language. 


Autumn is dark on the mountains ; grey mist rests on the hills. 
The whirlwind is -heard on the heath. Dark rolls the river through 
the narrow plain. A tree stands alone on the hill, and marks the 
grave of Connal. The leaves whirl round with the wind, and strew 
the grave of the dead. At times are seen here the ghosts of the 
deceased, when the musing hunter alone stalks slowly over the 

Who can reach the source of thy race, O Connal ? and who 
recount thy fathers ? Thy family grew like an oak on the mountain, 
which meeteth the wind with its lofty head Who shall supply the 
place of Connal ? 

Here was the din of arms ; and here the groans of the dying. 
Mournful are the wars of Fingal ! O Connal ! it was here thou didst 
fall. Thine arm was like a storm ; thy sword, a beam of the sky ; 
thy height, a rock on the plain; thine eyes, a furnace of fire. Louder 
than a storm was thy voice, when thou confoundedst the field. War- 
riors fell by the sword, as the thistle by the staff of a boy. 

Dargo the mighty came on like a cloud of thunder. His brows 
were contracted and dark. His eyes like two caves in a rock. 
Bright rose their swords on each side ; dire was the clang of their 

The daughter of Rinval was near ; Crimora, bright in the armour 
of man ; her hair loose behind, her bow in her hand. She followed 
the youth to the war, Connal her much beloved. She drew the 
string on Dargo ; but erring, pierced her Connal. He falls like an 
oak on the plain like a rock from the shaggy hill. What shall she 
do, hapless maid ! he bleeds ; her Connal dies. All the night 
long she cries, and all the day, O Connal, my love, and my friend ! 
With grief the sad mourner died. 

Earth here encloseth the loveliest pair on the hill. The grass 
grows beneath the stones of their tomb ; I sit in the mournful shade. 
The wind sighs through the grass ; and their memory rushes on my 
mind. Undisturbed you now sleep together; in the tomb of the, 
mountain you rest alone. 

134 Legends and Traditions. 


Ryno. The wind and the rain are over : calm is the noon of day. 
The clouds are divided in heaven. Over the green hills flies the 
inconstant sun. Red through the stony vale comes down the stream 
of the hill Sweet are thy murmurs, O stream ! but more sweet is 
the voice I hear. It is the voice of Alpin, the son of the song, 
mourning for the dead. Bent is his head of age, and red his tearful 
eye. Alpin, thou son of the song, why alone on the silent hill ? Why 
complainest thou, as a blast in the wood as a wave on the lonely 
shore ? 

Alpin. My tears, O Ryno ! are for the dead ; my voice for the 
inhabitants of the grave Tall thou art on the hill : fair among the 
sons of the plain. But thou shall fall like Morar ; and the mourner 
shall sit on the tomb. The hills shall know thee no more ; thy bow 
shall lie in the hall unstrung. 

Thou wert swift, O Morar ! as a roe on the hill ; terrible as a 
meteor of fire. Thy wrath was as the storm of December. Thy 
sword in battle, as lightning in the field. Thy voice was like a 
stream after rain ; like thunder on distant hills. Many fell by thy 
arm ; they were consumed in the flames of thy wrath. 

But when thou returnedst from war, how peaceful was thy brow ! 
Thy face was like the sun after rain ; like the moon in the silence of 
night ; calm as the breast of the lake when the loud wind is laid. 

Narrow is thy dwelling now; dark the place of thine abode. With 
three steps I compass thy grave, O thou who wast so great before! 
Four stones, with their heads of moss, are the only memorial of thee. 
A tree, with scarce a leaf, long grass which whistles in the wind, 
mark to the hunter's eye the grave of the mighty Morar. Morar ! 
thou art low indeed. Thou hast no mother to mourn thee; no maid 
with her tears of love. Dead is she that brought thee forth. Fallen 
is the daughter of Morglan. 

Who on his staff is this ? Who is this whose head is white with 
age, whose eyes are red with tears, who quakes at every step ? It is 
thy father, O Morar ! the father of none but thee. He heard of thy 
fame in battle ; he heard of foes dispersed. He heard of Morar's 
fame ; why did he not hear of his wound ? Weep, thou father of 
Morar ! weep, but thy son heareth thee not. Deep is the sleep of 
the dead ; low their pillow of dust. No more shall he hear thy 
voice; no more shall he awake at thy call. When shall it be morn 
in the grave, to bid the slumberer awake ? 

Farewell, thou bravest of men ! thou conqueror in the field : but 
the field shall see thee no more ; nor the dark wood be lightened 
with the splendour of thy steel. Thou hast left no son. But the 
song shall preserve the name. Future times shall hear of thee ; they 
shall hear of the fallen Morar. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 135 

[1760, //. 407-409-] 

Since two pieces, called Translated Fragments of Erse Poetry, were 
published in our Magazine [see Note 26], a small collection of 
pieces of the same kind has appeared, printed at Edinburgh and 
reprinted in London ; they are in general well imagined, and the 
images are natural and striking though few, suiting well with an 
early age and a barbarous nation, whose language is necessarily 
figurative, because it is not copious. As the original Erse is. 
intended to be printed, with some future edition of them, it will) 
irrefragably prove their authenticity, which might otherwise be 
reasonably doubted. 

The following are inserted as a further specimen for the 
gratification of the reader's curiosity : 


Son of the noble Fingal, Oscian, prince of men ! what tears run 
down the cheeks of age ? what shades thy mighty soul ? 

Memory, son of Alpin memory wounds the aged. Of former 
times are my thoughts ; my thoughts are of the noble Fingal. The 
race of the king returns into my mind, and wounds me with remem- 

One day, returned from the sport of the mountains, from pursuing 
the sons of the hill, we covered this heath with our youth. Fingal 
the mighty was here, and Oscur, my son, great in war. Fair on our 
sight from the sea, at once, a virgin came. Her breast was like the 
snow of one night ; her cheek like the bud of the rose. Mild was 
her blue rolling eye : but sorrow was big in her heart. 

Fingal renown'd in war ! she cries, sons of the king, preserve me ! 
Speak secure, replies the king : daughter of beauty, speak ; our ear 
is open to all ; our swords redress the injured. I fly from Ullin, she 
cries, from Ullin famous in war. I fly from the embrace of him who?, 
would debase my blood. Cremor, the friend of men, was my father 
Cremor, the prince of Inverne. 

Fingal's younger sons arose : Carryl, expert in the bow ; Fillan,. 
beloved of the fair; and Fergus, first in the race. Who from the 
farthest Lochlyn ? who to the seas of Molochasquir ? Who dares 
hurt the maid whom the sons of Fingal guard ? Daughter of beauty, . 
rest secure rest in peace, thou fairest of women. 

Far in the blue distance of the deep, some spot appeared like the 
back of the ridge wave. But soon the ship increased on our sight. 
The hand of Ullin drew her to land. The mountains trembled as 
he moved : the hills shook at his steps. Dire rattled his armour 
around him. Death and destruction were in his eyes. His stature, 
like the roe of Morven. He moved in the lightning of steel. 

Our warriors fell before him, like the field, before the reapers. 

136 Legends and Traditions. 

Fingal's three sons he bound. He plunged his sword into the fair 
one's breast. She fell as a wreath of snow before the sun in spring. 
Her bosom heaved in death ; her soul came forth in blood. 

Oscur my son came down : the mighty in battle descended. His 
armour rattled as thunder ; and the lightning of his eyes was terrible. 
There, was the clashing of swords ; there, was the voice of steel. 
They struck, and they thrust : they digged for death with their swords. 
But death was distant far, and delayed to come. The sun began to 
decline ; and the cowherd thought of home. Then Oscur's keen 
steel found the heart of Ullin. He fell like a mountain-oak cowed 
over with glistering frost : he shone like a rock on the plain. Here 
the daughter of beauty lieth ; and here the bravest of men. Here 
one day ended the fair and the valiant. Here rest the pursuer and 
the pursued. 

Son of Alpin ! the woes of the aged are many ; their tears are for 
the past. This raised my sorrow, warrior ! memory awaked my 
grief. Oscur my son was brave ; but Oscur is now no more. Thou 
hast heard my grief, O son of Alpin ; forgive the tears of the aged. 


Why openest thou afresh the spring of my grief, O son of Alpin, 
inquiring hpw Qgcur fell ? My eyes are blind with tears ; but 
memory beams on my heart. How can I relate the mournful death 
of the head of the people ! prince of the warriors, Oscur my son, shall 
I see thee no more ! 

He fell as the moon in a storm ; as the sun from the midst of his 
course, when clouds rise from the waste of the waves, when the 
blackness of the storm inwraps the rocks of Ardannider. I, like an 
ancient oak on Mosven, I moulder alone in my place. The blast 
hath lopped my branches away ; and I tremble at the wings of the 
north. Prince of the warriors, Oscur my son ! shall I see thee no 
more ! 

Dermid and Oscur were one : They reaped the battle together. 
Their friendship was strong as their steel ; and death walked between 
them to the field. They came on the foe like two rocks falling from 
the brows of Ardven. Their swords were stained with the blood of 
the valiant ; warriors fainted at their names. Who was a match for 
Oscur, but Dermid? and who for Dermid, but Oscur? 

They killed mighty Dargo in the field Dargo before invincible. 
His daughter was fair as the morn ; mild as the beam of night. Her 
eyes, like two stars in a shower ; her breath, the gale of spring ; her 
breasts, as the new fallen snow floating on the moving heath. The 
warriors saw her, and loved ; their souls were fixed on the maid. 
Each loved her, as his fame ; each must possess her or die. But her 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 137 

soul was fixed on Oscur ; my son was the youth of her love. She 
forgot the blood of -her father ; and loved the hand that slew him. 

Son of Oscian, said Dermid, I love ; O Oscur, I love this maid. 
But her soul cleaveth unto thee ; and nothing can heal Dermid. 
Here, pierce this bosom, Oscur; relieve me, my friend, with thy 

My sword, son of Morny, shall never be stained with the blood 
of Dermid. 

Who then is worthy to slay me, O Oscur son of Oscian ? Let not 
my life pass away unknown. Let none but Oscur slay me. Send 
me with honour to the grave, and let my death be renowned. 

Dermid, make use of thy sword ; son of Morny, wield thy steel. 
Would that I fell with thee ! that my death came from the hand of 
Dermid ! 

They fought by the brook of the mountain ; by the streams of 
Branno. Blood tinged the silvery stream, and curdled round the 
mossy stones. Dermid the graceful fell fell, and smiled in death. 

And fallest thou, son of Morny ; fallest thou by Oscur's hand ! 
Dermid, invincible in war, thus do I see thee fall ! He went, and 
returned to the maid whom he loved ; returned, but she perceived 
his grief. 

Why that gloom, son of Oscian ? what shades thy mighty soul ? 

Though once renowned for the bow, O maid, I have lost my fame. 
Fixed on a tree by the brook of the hill, is the shield of Gormur the 
brave, whom in battle I slew. I have wasted the day in vain, nor 
could my arrow pierce it 

Let me try, son of Oscian, the skill of Dargo's daughter. My 
hands were taught the bow : my father delighted in my skill. 

She went. He stood behind the shield. Her arrow flew and 
pierced his breast 

Blessed be that hand of snow ; and blessed thy bow of yew ! I 
fall resolved on death : and who but the daughter of Dargo was 
worthy to slay me ? Lay me in the earth, my fair one ; lay me by 
the side of Dermid. 

Oscur ! I have the blood, the soul of the mighty Dargo. Well 
pleased I can meet death. My sorrow I can end thus. She pierced 
her white bosom with steel. She fell ; she trembled and died. 

By the brook of the hill their graves are laid ; a birch's unequal 
shade covers their tomb. Often on their green earthen tombs the 
branchy sons of the mountain feed, when mid-day is all in flames, 
and silence is over all the hills. 

[1760, /. 421.] 

As many doubts have been started concerning the Erse odes 
printed in your magazine, p. 287, be pleased to assure the public 
that their originality and authenticity may be fully proved ; that the 

138 Legends and Traditions. 

piper of the Argyleshire Militia can repeat all those that are translated 
and published, and many more ; and that several other persons can 
do the same in the Highlands, where they are traditionally remem- 
Edinburgh, Sept. n, 1760. 

[1782, //. 570,571.] 

The controversy about Ossian having been lately revived, both in 
the newspapers and separate pamphlets as well as in your magazine, 
not without the intervention of several respectable names, I take the 
liberty of troubling you with some facts relative to it, which I obtained 
in an excursion of some months through the Highlands in the summer 
of the year 1780. I should scarcely have thought them worthy of 
the public attention if the subject had not been revived with so much 
ardour ; though they seem to me capable of affording much additional 
and even new light. If your opinion of them agrees with mine, I 
shall be happy to see them inserted among your valuable collections. 

It had ever appeared to me that the arguments on both sides of 
this dispute were attended with particular obscurity. The supporters 
of the authenticity of the Ossian of Mr. Macpherson have been 
either unable or unwilling to produce the authorities they pretend to. 
The antagonists of this opinion, on the other hand, though they 
cannot deny the existence of peculiar traditional and historic songs 
in the Highlands, and though they boast of invincible proofs that 
Mr. Macpherson's Ossian is wholly a forgery and not copied from 
any such songs, yet even the great Dr. Johnson himself has no claim 
to any knowledge of them. From such considerations I was induced 
to believe that the subject might be considerably elucidated by 
collecting these songs in their original form ; and I therefore made it 
a part of my business, during my journey through the Highlands, to 
search out the traditionary preservers of them, and procure copies 
with as much attention and exactness as lay in the power of a 
foreigner and a stranger to the language. The absurd difficulties I 
had to encounter with in this pursuit, it is not necessary to enume- 
rate ; sometimes I was obliged to dissemble a knowledge of the Erse, 
of which I scarcely understood six words ; sometimes I was forced 
to assume the character of a professed author, zealous to defend the 
honour of Ossian and Mr. Macpherson. It is not, however, imper- 
tinent to remark, that after I had obtained written copies in Erse of 
several of the following songs, I found it very difficult to get them 
translated ; for though many understand Erse as a speech, few are 
yet acquainted with it as a written language. 

Before I proceed any further, it appears to me requisite, for the 
clear understanding of what follows, to remark, that the dispute 
seems naturally to divide itself into three questions : First, whether 
the Ossian of Mr. Macpherson be really the production of a very 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 139 

ancient Highland bard, called by that name ? or, secondly, whether 
it be copied from old songs, the productions of the Highlands 
indeed, but written by unknown bards, and only doubtfully and 
traditionally ascribed to Ossian ? or, if it be wholly a forgery of Mr. 
Macpherson's ? 

Considerable opportunities were afforded me towards obtaining 
information on these heads by three several tours which I made in 
the Highlands. The first of these lay through the internal parts of 
that country, from Edinburgh to Perth, Dunkeld, Blair in Athol, Tay- 
mouth, Dalmaly in Glenorchy, Inverara, Loch- Lomond, Dunbarton, 
Glasgow, Hamilton, and Lanerk. In this tour I was honoured with 
the company of J. Stokes, M.D., of Worcester, now on his travels 
abroad, but then a student at Edinburgh, a gentleman eminent for 
his skill in botany, and a strenuous unbeliever in Ossian. From 
Lanerk I crossed to Linlithgow, Sterling, Perth, Forfar, Brechyn, 
Stonehaven, Aberdeen, Strath-Spey, Elgin, and Inverness, travelling 
along the Eastern coast, or Lowlands, as they are called. From 
Inverness I proceeded along the military roads, down the lakes, by 
Fort Augustus, to Fort William ; and still pursuing the military road, 
crossed over the Black Mountain to Tiendrum. In this stage I 
visited Glen-Co, famous in Scotland for its romantic scenery, for the 
massacre which happened there soon after the Revolution, and also 
. for being one of the habitations assigned by tradition to Ossian. 

Leaving Tiendrum a second time, I returned by Loch-Ern, Dum- 
blaine, and Alloa to Edinburgh. 

Such was the direction of my two first tours through the Highlands. 
The third, in which I was happy enough to procure far the greater 
number of the following songs, led me from Edinburgh, through 
Sterling and Callender, by the Head of Loch-Ern, to Tiendrum for 
the third, and Dalmaly for the second time. From Dalmaly I went 
by Loch-Etive, to Oban, where I took boat for Mull, and spent near 
a fortnight in the Western Isles ; visiting Staffa, and Icolmkill, and 
Morven on the main-land. In my return from Oban, I crossed over 
to Loch-Aw, Inverara, Loch-Lomond, Dunbarton, and Glasgow, thus 
finishing my wanderings among the Alps of our island. I think it 
necessary thus to delineate the track I pursued, that I may remove 
every doubt respecting the evidence I am about to produce ; as I 
shall have occasion to refer hereafter to the different stages of my 

In the course of my researches I found that, although every district 
had its own peculiar historic songs, yet the inhabitants of one valley 
were scarcely acquainted with those which were current in the next. 
The songs relating to the Feinne and their chieftain, Fion-mac-Coul, 
or Fion-na-Gael, whom we call in English " Fingal," are wholly con- 
fined to Argyleshire and the Western Highlands, where the scene of 
their actions is supposed to have lain. In that district almost every 

140 Legends and Traditions. 

one is acquainted with them ; and all, whose situation in life enables 
them to become acquainted with the subject, are zealous assertors of 
the authenticity of the Ossian of Mr. Macpherson. Yet it is remark- 
able that I never could meet with Mr. Macpherson's work in any 
part of the Highlands ; and many of his defenders confessed that 
they had never seen it The only book I met with, which had any 
immediate connection with it, was Mr. Hole's poetic version of 
Fingal, which I saw at Mr. Macleane's of Drimnan in Morven. I do 
not mean, however, to tax any of Ossian's Highland partizans with 
direct falsehood ; they have all heard that the stories of Mr. Mac- 
pherson relate to Fingal and his heroes ; they themselves have also 
often heard songs relating to the same people, and ascribed to 
Ossian ; and on this loose basis, I fear, their testimonies often rest. 

The first song relating to the Fienne, which I procured in the 
Highlands, was obtained from a native of Argyleshire, who was 
gardener to the Duke of Athol at Dunkeld. Its subject is humorous, 
and even ridiculous ; for Fingal is not always treated with respect in 
the Highlands, any more than our King Arthur in the old ballads of 
this country. A tailor happening to come to Fingal's habitation, 
found the heroes in such need of his art, that they began quarrelling 
about precedence, every hero wanting his own clothes made first ; 
Dermid, particularly, proceeded even to blows in support of his claim. 
By this means the whole host of the Feinne, or Fingalians, was 
thrown into confusion ; till at length an old hero restored peace by 
persuading them to turn out the tailor; which expedient was adopted, 
and Fingal's heroes determined to wear their old clothes a little 

Mr. Stuart, minister of Blair, whom I also visited in company with 
Mr. Stokes, was the only person I met with in the Highlands who 
expressed any doubts respecting Mr. Macpherson's Ossian. Mr. 
Stuart told us that there were indeed many songs preserved in Argyle- 
shire and the Western Highlands, under the name of Ossian, relating 
to Fingal and his heroes : " but," says he, " we have our doubts with 
regard to Mr. Macpherson's poems, because he has not published 
the originals." 

Mr. Stuart favoured us with the story of a song, relating to Dermid, 
one of the Feinne, who had raised Fingal's jealousy by too great an 
intimacy with his wife. Fingal in revenge, having determined to 
destroy Dermid, took the opportunity of putting his purpose in 
execution, by means of a boar which had been slain in one of their 
huntings. It was a notion in those times, Mr. Stuart added, that 
walking along the back of a boar, in a direction contrary to the 
bristles, was certain death. Fingal commanded Dermid to do this, 
and by that means put an end to his life. I afterwards obtained a 
copy of this song in the original Erse ; Mr. Smith, also, the editor of 
a late collection of Ossian's poems, has inserted a copy of it : they 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 141 

both differ in many circumstances from the foregoing account ; Mr. 
Smith's likewise is much longer and more correct 

Though it be somewhat out of order to sign my name before I 
come to the conclusion of my subject, yet as the authenticity of the 
foregoing remarks depends wholly on my testimony, I take the liberty 
to assure you, on the present occasion, that I have the honour to 
be, etc. [See Note 27.] THO. F. HILL. 

No. 30, Ely Place, Holborn. 

[1783, Part I., pp. 33-36.] 

Tty the assistance of the Rev. Mr. Stuart, minister of Blair 
(mentioned in the last magazine), I was directed to one James 
Maclauchan, a very old man, much celebrated for his knowledge 
of ancient songs. Maclauchan was a tailor ; those artists being of 
all men the most famous for this qualification.* I found him in 
an old woman's cottage, near Blair, entirely willing to gratify my 
curiosity, and indeed highly flattered that I paid so much attention 
to his songs ; but as he could not talk English, I was obliged to 
supply myself with another cottager to translate whilst he sung. The 
following poem I wrote down from the mouth of our interpreter ; a 
circumstance which naturally accounts for the ruggedness of the lan- 
guage : the good old woman, who sat by spinning, assured me that, 
if I had understood the original, it would have drawn tears from 
my eyes. The poem is an elegy on a gentleman of the clan of 
Mac Gregor, who died in the prime of life : the author mourns over 
his deceased patron himself, and describes the sorrow of the rest of 
his friends. I have some reasons to believe it was published in the 
original Erse, by Mac Donald, in a collection of Erse poems, printed 
at Edinburgh about eight or ten years ago [see Note 28] : 

" The sighs of my heart vex me sore ; the sight of my eyes is not 
good : it has raised my sorrows, and doubled my tears ; the man of 
Doonan is not alive ; there are many gentlemen making his bed, and 
their sorrow is dropping on their shoes ; his mistress is, as it were, 
crucified for his love. It is no wonder she should be sorrowful, for 
she shall never get such another after him. When I would sit by 
myself (and consider) the like of him was not to be gotten with or 
without riches. His heart was raised up, his fiddle at your ear, and 
his pipes playing about your town. When he would sit down, he 
heard the sound of his cups ; and his servants serving him while he 
was at rest. It is the meaning of my words : how many worthy men 
who have been great drinkers have died. Of them were Alexander 
Rowey and Black John of strong arms ; I think them far off from 

* Tailors, in Scotland and the North of England, work in the houses of their 
employers ; and their songs serve for the entertainment both of themselves and 
their hosts during their labour. 

142 Legends and Traditions. 

me without life. You were the chief of the people, going far before 
them, and a good lord of your tenants at home. When you took 
your arms, they did not rust ; every hunting you made there was 
blood. You got honour going before them ; and although you got 
more than they, you were worthy of it.* I will never walk west on 
the road to the (peat) stack any more, for I have lost my mirth and 
the laird of Reanach."t 

As I had been informed, in my first excursion through the High- 
lands, that one Mac-Nab, a blacksmith, at Dalmaly, had made it his 
business to collect and copy many of the songs attributed to Ossian, 
I determined upon revisiting Dalmaly, in order to obtain all the 
intelligence I could from him. He lives in a cottage, not far from 
the inn and church at Dalmaly, where he boasts that his ancestors 
have been blacksmiths for near four hundred years ; and where also 
he preserves, with much respect, the coat-armour of the blacksmiths 
his forefathers. I found him by no means deficient in ingenuity. A 
blacksmith in the Highlands is a more respectable character than 
with us in England. He is referred to by Mr. Smith, above- 
mentioned, as one of his authorities for the Erse poems he has 
published jj a circumstance which may perhaps diminish the validity 
of his testimony with some of the zealous antagonists of Ossian ; but 
as the poems he favoured me with have little agreement with those 
published by Macpherson and Smith, I think the force of prejudice 
alone can persuade us to refuse it. I have reason to believe that 
Mac-Nab had never read the Ossian of Mr. Macpherson. 

From this man I obtained many songs, which are traditionally 
ascribed to Ossian. The following poem of " Ossian agus an 
Clerich" he gave me in Erse; for to him I pretended a knowledge 
in that language. I had it afterwards translated by Mr. Darrach, a 
gentleman who lived with Mr. Maclean, of Scallastel, in Mull, as 
tutor to his children, and who was wholly unacquainted with Mac- 
Nab. I set down the translation, in the rude form it received from 
immediate verbal composition. It differs in chronology from the 
poems of Ossian already published, representing that bard as a con- 
temporary of St. Patrick ; agreeable to a tradition which I found very 
prevalent in Argyleshire; according to which, St. Patrick was Ossian's 
son-in-law. The poem is a dialogue between St. Patrick the Clerich 
or Clerk and Ossian : 

* At this place we suspected that our interpreter, weary pf his employment, 
desired old Maclauchin to omit a considerable part of the song and repeat the 
concluding verse immediately. 

+ Reanach is, I believe, in Athol, not far from Glen Lion, where a branch of 
the Tay flows through a lake of that name. 

t "Galic Antiq.," by Mr. Smith, Edinburgh. 1780, p. 128, note. 

Mr. Mac-Arthur, minister in Mull, declared to me that he could remember 
having heard the following poem of " Ossian agus an Clerich" as long as he could 
remember anything. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


A Clerich achanfas na Sailm, 
Air leom fein gur borb do Chial ; 
Nach eist thu Tamuil re Sgeul 
Air an Fhein nach fhachd thu 


Air ma chumhas, amhic Fhein, 
Ga bein leat bhi teachd air Fhein, 
Fuaim nan Sailm air feadh mo 

Gur he sud be Cheoil damh Fhein. 


Na bi tu Coimheadadh do Shailm 
Re fianichd Erin nan Arm, 
A Clerich gur Ian olc leum nochd 
Nach sgarain doChean redChorp. 


Sinfaoid Chomrich sa, Fhirmhoir; 
Laoidh do Bheoil gur binn leum 


Tagamid suas Altair Fhein : 
Bu bhinn Horn bhi teachd air 


Nam bidhin thu, Chlerich Cha- 


Air an Traidh ha Siar fa dheas 
Aig Eass libridh na'n Shruth 

Air an Fhein bu Mhor do Mheas. 



Clerk that singest the Psalms ! 

1 think thy notions are rude; that 
thou wilt not hear my songs, of 
the heroes of Fingal (Fhein) whom 
thou hast never seen. 

CLERK. 2. 

I find thy greatest delight is in 
relating the stories of the actions 
of Fingal and his heroes; but the 
sound of the Psalms is sweeter be- 
tween my lips than the songs of 


If thou darest to compare thy 
Psalms to the old heroes of Ire- 
land (Erin)* with their drawn 
weapons, Clerk! I am much of 
opinion I should be sorely vexed 
if I did not sever thy head from 
thy body. 

CLERK. 4. 

That is in thy mercy, great Sir ! 
the expressions of thy lips are 
very sweet to me. Let us rear 
the altar of Fingal ;f I would 
think it sweet to hear of the 
heroes of Fingal. 


If, my beloved Clerk ! thou wert 
at the south-west shore, by the 
fall of Lever, of the slow-rolling 
stream, thou wouldst highly es- 
teem the heroes of Fingal. 


Beanneachd air Anam an Laoich My blessing attend the soul of 

* Here Fingal and his heroes seem to be expressly attributed to Ireland. 
Fingal is distinguished as Irish also, in v. 8. 

t Ossian and St. Patrick are ever represented as disputing, whether the Christian 
religion or the stories of Fhein were to be preferred. Here St. Patrick appears 
willing to acknowledge the superiority of the latter, and to rear an altar, not to 
God, but Fingal. 


Legends and Traditions. 

Bu ghairbhe Fraoich, ansgach 

greish : 
Fean-Mac-Cumhail, Cean nan 

O san air a leainte 'n Teass. 


La dhuine, fiaghach na'n Dearg, 
'S nach derich an Tealg nar Car : 
Gu facas deich mile Bare 
Air Traidh, a teachd air Lear. 


Shesaabh sin uill air an Leirg : 
Thionnail an Fhein as gach 


Seachd Catha-urcharu gu borb : 
Gur e dhiahd mu Mhachd Nin 



Thanig an Cabhlach gu Tir 
Greadhin nach bu bhin, hair leinn : 
Bu lionar an Pubul Sroil 
Ga thoigbhail leo os an cean. 

that hero, whose fury was violent 
in battle ; Fingal, son of Comhal, 
chief of the host ! who gained 
great renown from that contest. 

One day that we were at the chace, 
looking forred-deer, not being suc- 
cessful in meeting with our game, 
we saw the rowing often thousand 
barks, coming along the surface of 
the sea, towards our shore. 


We all stood on the side of a hill ; 
the followers of Fingal assembled 
from every quarter ; seven tribes 
surrounded the son of Teague's 
(Taoig) daughter. 

The fleet came to shore, and there 
appeared a great multitude that 
seemed notdisposed to friendship; 
and there was many a tent of silk 
raised over them. 

Hog iad an Coishri on Choill, 
Schuir iad orra an Airm ghaidh 
San air Gualin gach Fhir mhoir 
Is thog siad orra on Traidh. 


Labhair Mac-Cumhail ri Fhein : 
An fhidir shibh fein co na Sloigh, 
Nan nd fisruigh shibh co Bhuid- 

Bheir an Deanneal cruaidh san 



Sin nuair huirt Connan aris, 
Co bail leat a Riogh bhi ann ? 
Co shaoleadh tu, Fhinn nan Cath, 
Bhiodh ann ach Flath na Riogh ? 

They bore away from the woods ; 
they put on their beautiful armour 
on every great man's shoulder; and 
they bore away from the shore. 


The son of Comhal spoke to his 
heroes, "Can ye know who is 
this cruel people? or do ye know 
who is the author of the furious 
battle on this shore ?" 


Then said Connan again, "Whom, 
O King, dost thou suppose them 
to be? or who shouldest thou think 
it should be? O thou Fingal of 
battles ! but the flower of Kings?" 
(Manos, King of Norway). 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 



Co gheomeid, an air Fhein, 
Rechidh a ghabhail Sgeul don 

tsluadh ; 

'Sa bheridh hugain e gun Chleth, 
Sgum beireadh e Breith is Buaidh. 


Sin nuair huirt Connan aris : 
Co bail leat a Riogh dhul ann 
Ach Feargheas fior-ghlic, do 

O she chleachd bhi dul nan 

Ceann ? 


Beir a Mhallachd, a Connain 

Huirt an Feargheas bu chaoin 


Rachansa ghabhail an Sgeil 
Don Fhein 'scho bann air do Ghuth. 

1 6. 

Ghluais an Feargheas armoil og 
Air an Rod an Coinneamh nan'm 

f hear ; 

'S dehfisrich e le Comhradh foil 
Co na Sloigh sho hig air Lear ? 


Manus fuileach, fearich, fiar, 
Mac Riogh Beatha nan Sgia Dearg ; 
Ard Riogh Lochlin Ceann nan 

Giolla bo Mhor Fiabh as Fearg. 


Ciod a ghluais, a Bhuin borb, 
O Rioghachd Lochlan, nan Colg 

( Scann, ) 

\ Marhan J aMheadachaairFhion 
Ahanig air Triath hair Lear. 




Air do 

Asan Fhein ga Mor do shuim ; 
Cha gabh sin Cumha gan B'hran, 
Agus a Bhean a hoirt o Fhean. 



"Who shall we find among our 
heroes that will go to get word of 
the people, and will bring us 
good intelligence, he shall have 
my applause and favour ?" 


Then says Connan again, "Whom, 
O King, would you choose to go 
but your very wise son Fergus? 
since he is used to go on this 


" My curse on thee, bare-headed 
Connan," says Fergus of the fair 
complexion : " I will go and in- 
quire about the heroes, but not 
for thy sake." 

1 6. 

Young warlike Fergus went away 
to the road to meet the men. He 
inquired with a mild voice, "Who 
were the multitude that came over 
the sea?" 


Bloody Magnus of the manly form, 
son of King Beatha of the red 
shield ; chief King of Lochlin 
(Norway}, and head of men, a 
man of furious appearance. 

1 8. 

"What moved thee, thou fierce 
man ! from the kingdom of Loch- 
lin with fierce appearance; if it was 
not to increase our warriors, that 
the hero came over the sea ?" 


" By thy hand, thou mild Fergus ! 
though thou art great among the 
heroes, we will not take a reward 
without Bran, and we will take 
the wife of Fingal himself." 


Legends and Traditions. 






Dod Shluadh ma'm fuighe tu Bran, 
Is bheridh Fean Comhrag trein 
Dhuit fein, mum fuighe tu Bhean. 


Hanig Feargheas, mo Bhrair fein, 
'Sbu Chosbhail ri Grein a Chruth, 
'S ghisidh e Sgeile go foil, 
Ga' b osgaradh nior a Gehuth. 



sud faoin 

Mac Riogh 

Traibh ; 

Co d'en fa gho bhi ga Chleth ? 
Cha gabh e gun Chomhrag dlu 
Na do Bhean's doChu faoi bhreth. 


Chaoidh cha tugainse mo Bhean 
Dodh 'aon Neach ata fuidh 'n 


'Scha mho mheir mi Bran gu brach 
(Jus an teid am Bas na Bheil. 


Labhair Mac Cumhail ri Goll, 
Smor an Glonn duin bi nar tosd ; 
Nach tugamid Comhrag borb 
Do Riogh Lochlan nan Sciadh 


Seachd Altramain Lochain lain, 
Se labhair Goll gun fhas Cheilg, 
Sair libhse gur Moran Sluaidh, 
Bheir mi'm brigh sa'm buaidh gu 

FERGUS. 20. 

" Our heroes will give thy people 
hard battle before thou shall get 
Bran ; and Fingal will himself 
fight thee hard before thou shall 
get his wife." 


My brother Fergus came with his 
complexion like the sun ; to tell 
the tale mildly, though his voice 
was loud. 


" The son of the King of Lochlin 
is on the shore : Why should I 
conceal it? He will not depart 
without hard battle, or thy wife 
and thy dog as a reward." 

FINGAL. 23. 

" I never will give my wife to any 
one under the sun; neither will I 
give Bran for ever, till death takes 
hold of my mouth." 


Comhal's son spoke to Gaul, " It 
is great shame for us to be quiet ; 
that we do not give hard battle 
to the King of Lochlin, of the 
spotted shield."* 


"The seven brave sons, of the 
little lake of Lano," says Gaul 
without guile; "you think them a 
great multitude, but I will con- 
quer them."t 

* Neither Mac-Nab, nor any other Highlander, to whom I showed this poem, 
ever seemed to conceive that there was any affinity between it and the *'Ossian" 
of Mr. Macpherson ; but, on comparing it with the poem called "Fingal," I find 
the following parallel passages : Book IV., some parts of which are a translation 
of the above song, though quite on a different subject. 24 " ' Behold,' said the 
King of generous shields, 'how Lochlin divides on Lena. Let every chief 
amongst the friends of Fingal take a dark troop of those that are grown so high. 
Nor let a son of the echoing groves bound on the waves of Inistore.' " 

f "'Mine,' said Gaul, 'be the seven chiefs, that came from Lano's Lake,' " 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 

26. /Prios\ 

SehuirtanTosgarbumhor \BrighJ 
Diongamsa Riogh Inse-Torc, 
S Cinn a Dha chomhirlich dheig 
Leig faoi 'm choimhir fein an 


larla Muthuin, smor a Ghlonn, 
Se huirt Diarmaid donn gun ghuin, 
Coisge mise sud dar Fein, 
No teuitim fein air a shon. 


Gur he dhabh mi fein fos Laimh, 
Gad ha mi gun Chail an Nochd, 
Riogh Terrain na'n Comhrag 

'Sgo sgarrain a Chean re Chorp. 

Beribh Beanneachd's buinibh 

Huirt Mac Cumhail nan Gruaidh 

dearg ; 

Manus Mac Gharra nan Sloidh 
Diongaidh mise, ga mor Fhearg. 

. 3- 

Noiche sin duinne gu Lo 
Bainmaig lein abhi gun Cheoil ; 
Fleagh gu fairfing, fion is Ceir, 
Se bheidh aig an Fhein ga ol. 


Chuncas, mu'n do scar an Lo, 
A gabhail Doigh an sa Ghuirt 
Meirg Riogh Lochlan an aigh, 
Ga hogail on Traibh nan Nuchd. 


Then says Oscar of mighty strength, 
" Give to me the King of Inistore 
(the island of Wild Boars) ; his 
twelve nobles have a sweet voice, 
leave me to quell them."* 


" Earl MuHan's glory is great," 
says brown Dermid without ma- 
lice ; " I will quell him for thy 
heroes, or fall in the attempt."! 


I myself took in hand, though I 
am at this night without vigour, 
King Terman of the close battles, 
that I should sever his head from 
his body.J 


"Deserve blessings, and gain the 
victory," says Comhal's son with 
the red cheeks : " Magnus son of 
Gharra of multitudes, I will con- 
quer, though great is his fury in 
battle. " 

From night to day, we seldom 
wanted music : a wide house, 
wine, and wax are what we used 
to have, when we drank. 

We saw, before the dawn of day, 
the iron King of Lochlin, taking 
possession of the field ; coining 
in his youth, from the shore, 
before the men. II 

* " ' Let Inistore's dark King,' said Oscar, 'come to the sword of Ossian's son :' 
' To mine the King of Iniscon's,' said Connal heart of steel." 

f " ' Or Mudan's Chief, or I,' said brown-haired Dermid, ' shall sleep on clay 
cold earth.' " 

+ " My choice, though now so weak and dark, was Terman's battling King. I 
promised with my hand to win the hero's dark-brown shield." 

" ' Blest and victorious be my chiefs,' said Fingal of the mildest look ; 
' Swaran, King of roaring waves, thou art the choice of Fingal !' " The blessings 
here are evidently Christian. Macpherson, in his translation, has very happily 
given them a different air. The next verse in the poem above is evidently corrupt 
and improper. 

|1 This verse, though following the challenges of the Fingalians in my copy, is 
evidently analogous to Fingal's speech at the beginning of them in Macpherson. 

10 2 


Legends and Traditions. 


We set up decently to a standard 
the colours of fierce Fingal : they 
were full of golden stones, and 
with us much esteemed.* 


Many a gold-tilted sword, many a 
flag was raised to its staff, in the 
hospitable son of Comhal's battle; 
and many a javelin was above 

[1783, Part I., pp. 140-144.] 


Chuir shinn Deo-ghreine ri Crann 
Brattach Fhein, bu gharga Trus'h, 
Lom-lan do Cloc'haibh oir ; 
Aguinne bu mhor a Meas. 


lommaid Cloimh, Dorn-chan oir, 
lommaid Sroil, ga chuir ri Crann, 
'N Cath Mhic Cumhail Fean nan 

fleadh ; 
'Sbo Lionfar Sleadh os air Ceann. 


lommaid cotan, iommaid Triach, 
lommaid scia, as lurich dharamh; 
lommaid Draoisich's mac Riogh, 
'Scha raibh fear riamh dheu gun 


lommaid Cloigid maisich cruaidh, 
Jommaid Tuath, is iommaid Gath, 
'N Cath Riogh Lochlin na'm 

Bu lionfar Mac Riogh is Flath. 


Rinneadir an 'Nuirnig chruaigh, 
'S bhrisseadear air Buaidh na'n 


Chrom shinn arCean an sa Chath 
Is rein gach Flath mar a Gheall. 


Hachair Mac Cumhail na'n Cuach 
Agus Manus na'n ruag gun Adh 

* This verse, like the former, is transposed. In Macpherson it precedes verse 
31. "We reared the sunbeam of battle, the standard of the King : each hero 
exulted with joy, as waving it flew on the wind. It was studded with gold above, 
as the blue wide shell of the nightly sky." The word translated by Mr. M. 
"sun-beam" (Dec-ghreine), was by Mr. Darrach interpreted "colours ;" as being 
more intelligible in English, though less literal. 

t " Each hero," adds Macpherson, " had his standard too, and each his gloomy 

% This verse is not only Christian but even fanatic ; in Macpherson it is 
expressed somewhat differently : " The gloomy ranks of Lochlin fell, like the 
banks of the roaring Cona ; our arms were victorious on Lena, each chief fulfilled 
his promise." 


Many a coat of mail, many a hero, 
many a shield, many a great 
breast-plate, many a King's son ; 
and there was none of them with- 
out a weapon. 


Many a handsome steel helmet, 
many a battle-axe (the "Lochabar 
Axe," see Gal. Ant., p. 261), many 
a dart, in the host of arms of the 
King of Lochlin of shells; and 
many heroes, the sons of Kings. 


They prayed fervently, and the 
forces of the strangers were bro- 
ken : we bowed our heads in the 
battle, and every hero did as he 
had promised.! 


The son of Comhal of the drink- 
ing horns, and Magnus the unfor- 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


Ri cheil 'arm an Tuitim an 

tsluaidh ; 
Chlerich nach bo cruaidh an Cas. 


Go'm be sud an Turleum lean, 
Mar Dheanna a bheridh da Ord ; 
Cath fuilich an da Riogh, 
Go'm bo ghuinneach briogh an 


Air brisseadh do Sge an Dearg ; 
Air eridh dhoibh Fearg is Fraoch ; 
Heilg iad am Bull air an lar, 
'S hug iad Spairn an da Laoich. 


Cath fuileach an da Riogh, 
San leinne bu chian an Clos : 
Bha Clachan agus Talamh trom 
Amosgladh faoi Bhonn an Coss. 


Leagur Riogh Lochlan gan Adh 
Am fianish Chaich air an Raoch ; 
'Sair san, gad nach b'ion air 

Chuiridh ceangeal nan tri Chaoil. 


Sin nuair huirt Connan Maoil, 
Mac Mornadh bha riabh ri Hole, 
Cumur ruim Manus nan Ian, 
'Sgo sgarrain an Ceann re Chorp. 

tunate, met together in the middle 
of the multitude : Clerk, was not 
that a dreadful case ? 


Was that not a close fight, like 
the strokes of two hammers, the 
bloody battle of the two Kings, 
whose countenances were very 
furious ?* 


After the red shield (Sge Dcarg] 
was broken, their countenances 
being fierce, they threw their wea- 
pons to the ground, and the two 
heroes wrestled for the victory.t 


The bloody battle of the two 
Kings ; we longed for their separa- 
tion : there were stones and heavy 
earth, opening below the soles of 
their feetj 


The unfortunate King of Lochlin 
was overthrown, in presence of the 
rest, among the heath ; and though 
it did not become a King, his feet 
and hands were tied. 


Then says bald-headed Connan, 
son of Mornah, who was always 
drinking, " Hold, Magnus of the 
swords, whilst I sever his head 
from his body." 

* The following verses are as analogous to the battle of Fingal and Swaran, 
Fingal, B. v., as the verses foregoing to the passages above quoted from Mac- 
pherson : " When the two heroes met there was the clang of arms ! There every 
blow, like the hundred hammers of the furnace : Terrible is the battle of the 
Kings ; dreadful the look of their eyes." 

t " Their ^z^-brown shields (Sge Dearg} are cleft in twain. Their steel flies 
broken from their helms. They fling their weapons down. Each rushes to his 
hero's grasp. Their sinewy arms bend round each other ; they turn from side to 
side ; and strain and stretch their large and spreading limbs below." 

J " But when the pride of their strength arose, they shook the hill with their 
heels. Rocks tumble from their places on high ; the green-headed bushes are 

" At length the strength of Swaran fell : the King of the Groves is bound." 


Legends and Traditions. 


Cha neil again Cairdeas na Gaoil 
Riutsa,Connain Mhaoilgun Fhoalt; 
O'n harla mi'n Grasan Fhein 
'Sansa leura na bi [faoi] fu'd 


O harla thu'm Grasabh fein, 
Cha'n iommair mi Beud air Flath ; 
Fuasglath mi husa o'm Fhein 
A Laimh Threun gu cur mor 


"Sgeibh thu do raoghin aris 
Nuair a heid thu do'd Thir fein, 
Cairdeas is commun do ghna, 
Na do Lamh achuir faoi'm 


Cha chuir mi mo Laimh faoi'd, 


N cian a Mhairtheas Call am Chorp: 
Aon Bhuille Taoighe, Fhein ; 
Saithreach deinn no reinneas ort. 


Mi fein, agus Mathair, is Goll 
Triur bo mho Glonn san Fhein ; 
Ged ta sinn gun Draosich no 

Ach easteachd ri Hord Cleir. 


"I have no friendship nor love for 
thee, bald Connan without hair ; 
but though I am in Fingal's 
mercy, I would rather be so than 
under thy authority." 

FINGAL. 44. 

"Since thou art in Fingal's mercy, 
I will allow no harm to thee : I 
will set thee at liberty from 
amongst my heroes ; thou strong 
hand to fight the battles ! 


" And thou shall get thy own 
choice again, when thou shall re- 
turn to thy own country ; friend- 
ship and unity always, or else lo 
be revenged of our heroes."* 


" I will nol lake revenge of your 
heroes as long as there is breath 
in my body; nor will I strike one 
stroke against thyself. I repent 
what I have done to you."t 


Myself, my Falhcr, and Gaul 
were ihe three who had most chil- 
dren, amongst our heroes; though 
we are now withoul slrenglh, 
hearkening lo clergymen's orders. 

Many curious remarks mighl be made on Ihe language of the 

* In the sixth book of Fingal, this passage also is found : " Raise to-morrow," 
says Fingal to Swaran, " raise thy white sails to the wind, thou Brother of Agan- 
decca. Or dost thou choose the fight? The combat, which thy fathers gave to 
Trenmor, is thine ! that thou mayest depart renowned, like the sun setting in 
the west !" 

t " King of the race of Morven," said the Chief of resounding Lochlin, "never 
will Swaran fight with thee, first of a thousand heroes !" I found these parallel 
passages on a slight comparison of the above poem with Macpherson; perhaps a 
stricter search might find out many more. This poem, under the title of "Manos," 
has been likewise published by Mr. Smith, "Gal. Ant.," Edinburgh, 1780, p. 250; 
but the parallel passages, in his copy and mine, are scarcely so numerous as those 
above quoted from Macpherson : our copies agree only in the l6th, 2lst, 22nd, 
35th, 39th, 4ist, 42nd, 43rd, and 44th verses of the above poem. Even the story of 
the two copies is not the same : in Smith, besides many other differences, the poem 
concludes with the death of Manos ; in my copy, Manos is only bound, like Swaran 
in Macpherson. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 1 5 1 

foregoing poem, which abounds with words derived from the Latin, 
Danish, and Saxon tongues as "Clerich, "Chorp," "Fhir," "Nochd" 
from the former; "Bare," "Jarla," "Cotan," " Brisseadh," from the 
latter: many peculiarities, also worthy our attention, occur in the style 
and versification as the paucity of epithets, the love of alliteration 
(see verse 29, 1. i), and the frequent repetition of lines in every 
respect the same, as in Homer, probably with a design to assist the 
memory (see verse 3, I. 4 ; v. 28, 1. 4 ; and v. 42, 1. 4 v. 14, 1. i ; 
v. 42, 1. i, etc.); but as it would infringe too much on your Magazine 
to enlarge upon these subjects, I shall leave them to the acuteness 
of your readers. 

Shaw, the last antagonist of Ossian, observes that he could not meet 
with any songs in the Highlands which mentioned Swaran, King of 
Lochlin ; but that they all spoke of Manos or Magnus, a name of later 
times. Perhaps the foregoing might be one of the songs he met with. 

The two following songs I received from Mac-Nab at the same 
time with the last. The former of them relates to the death of 
Dermid ; the history of a song on which subject I have already 
sent you, Mr. Urban, on the authority of Mr. Stuart of Blair.* The 
differences which appear between the following song and that 
described by Mr. Stuart are not very great, and they serve mutually 
to explain one another. I there observed that another song on this 
subject, much longer and containing a greater number of circum- 
stances, had been inserted by Mr. Smith in his " Galic Antiquities."t 
That poem opens with an address to Cona and Mount Golbun ; and 
after describing Fingal's going out to hunt on the latter, relates that 
Dermid, hearing the cry of the dogs, left the embraces of his wife to 
join the chace. His wife, following him, meets with an old man 
mourning over his wife and son ; the latter of whom, having fallen at 
the chace, through the loss of his spear, she determines to pursue 
her husband with a supernumerary one. Dermid joins Fingal and 
engages the boar, incited by the promised rewards of that monarch. 
He loses his spear, but receives another from his wife, who is slain 
herself by a wandering arrow. With the second spear he pierces 
the breast of the boar ; but the shaft being broken, he draws his 
sword and kills the animal. Connan, the Thersites of the Highland 
songs, who had been Dermid's rival in love, then dares him to mea- 
sure the boar ; which he does, first in the same direction with the 
bristles, and receives no injury ; but being farther provoked by 
Connan, measures him again the contrary way, and the bristles 
piercing his feet, he is^slain.J His wife, not yet expired, mourns 
over him, and then dies. Their interment is described, and the 

* See Magazine for December last, p. 571 [see ante, p. 140]. 

t Gal. Anl., pp. 187 to 202. 

J The mode of mensuration here meant was performed by putting the feet one 
before the other along the boar's back, according to the original mode of measuring 
by ikefool. 


Legends and Traditions. 

poem concludes with Ossian's funeral song. Such is the history of 
Smith's poem, which in some respects coincides with the following, 
and in many differs from it ; what few parallel passages there are I 
shall insert in the notes. Mr. Darrach, the translator of the former, 
was so kind as to translate these also for me. 


(ffmv Dermid killed the poisonous Wild Boar.) 

Eisdibh beag ma's ail leibh Laoidh Give ear for a little, if you are 
chaoidh so fond of a poetical account of 
those people that are now dead, 
and that went to Mount Golbun; 
and likewise of hospitable Fingal 
and the Son of O Duine of the 
Mournful Tales. They pre- 
vailed, with great treachery, on 
the Son of O Duine of the Red 
Lip, to go to Mount Golbun to 
hunt a wild boar, that no weapon 
could subdue. The beast awak- 
ened out of his sound sleep, he 
looked about him round theglen, 
and perceived the noise of the 
heroes (Fian) coming east and 
west about him. The Son of 
O Duine, who never shunned a 
warlike enterprise,* aimed his 
javelin at the boar, broke the 
shaft thereof in three pieces, and 
was displeased to find it so in 
the boar. He drew from the 
scabbard his trusty blade that 
obtained victory in battle : the 
Son of O Duine killed the beast, 
and he himself was safe. We all 
sat upon one hill, at which time 
Fingal was seized with a deep 
melancholy; after a long silence 

Air chuideachd a chaoidh so 


AirBeinnGhuilbenn, 'sairFuinnfial, 
'S air mac o Duine nan Sgeul truagh : 
Dh' imis iad, s bu mhor an fheall, 
Air mac o Duine bu dearg beul, 
Dol do bheinn Ghuilben a shealg 
Tuirc. nach feadadh airm a chlaoidh. 
Dh' eirich a bheist as a suain ; 
Dh' amhairc i uaip an gleann ; 
Dh' fhairich i faragra nam Fian 
Teachd a noir 's a niar na Ceann. 
Mac o Duine, nach d' ob daimh, 
Chuir e'n t sleagh an dail an Tuirc: 
Bhris e 'innt 'an crann mu thri : 
Bu reachdar leis a bhi sa mhuic. 
Tharruing e shean lann o'n Truaill, 
Bhuigneadh buaidh anns gach blar: 
Mharbh mac o Duine a bheist : 
Thachair dha fein a bhi slan. 
'Shuidh sinn uil air aon Chnoc : 
Luidh mor sprochd air Ceann flath 


Air bhi dha fada na thosd, 
Labhair e, 's gum b' olc a chial : 
" Tomhais a Dhiarmaid fa sochd, 
Cia mead troigh 's an Tore a Niar. 
" Seath troighe deug de fhior 


* Smith (p. 194) gives this passage as follows : " With all his terrible might the 
chief lifts his spear ; like a meteor of death red issuing from Lano's cloud, a flood 
of light, it quick descends. The head is lodged in the rough breast of the boar ; 
the shaft flies over trees, through air. His sword is in the hero's hand, the old 
companion of his deeds in the hour of danger. Its cold point pierces the heart of 
the foe. The boar, with all his blood and foam, is stretched on earth." Smith 
adds that the clan of Campbell, said to be descended from Deimid, assume the 
boar's head for their crest from this event : Smith calls Dermid the son of Duine 
(p. 198); Macpherson calls him the son of Duthno. Fingal, B. v. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


Tha'm frioghan na Muice fiadhaich. 
Cho'n e sin iddir a tomha's : 
Tomhais a ris i, Dhiarmaid : 
Tomhais, a Dhiarmaid, a ris 
Na aghaidh gu min an Tore : 
'S leatsa do roghain, ga chionn, 
Tuil 'igh nan arm rann-gheur goirt. 

Dh' eirich e, sb'en turas gaidh : 
Thomhais e dhoibh an Tore : 
Tholl am friogh bha nimheil garg 
Bonn an Laoich bu gharbh san trod. 
"Aon deoch dhamhs' ad Chuaich, 


Fhir nam briathra blatha binn : 
Fon chaill mi mo bhrigh 'smo 


O choin, gur truagh mur tabhair. 
" Cho toir mise dhuit mo Chuach, 
'Scha mho chabhras mi ar t iota : 
O's beag a rinn thu dom' leas, 
'Sgur mor a rinn thu dom 'aimhleas. 
" Cha d'rinn mise cron ort riamh, 
Thall na bhos, a noir na niar ; 
Ach imichd 'le Grain, am braidd, 
Sa huirgam thobhairt fa gheassaibh. 

he spoke in a fierce manner : 
" Dermid ! measure the boar, 
how many feet he measures to 
the westward !" " Sixteen feet 
of neat measure, the bristles of the 
wild boar measure !" (Fingal) : 
" That is not all the measure ; 
measure it again, Dermid : mea- 
sure it, Dermid, again against 
the bristles ! for so doing you 
shall have your choice of my 
warlike weapons."* 

He got up and undertook the 
hard task: he measured the boar 
to them. The venomous coarse 
bristles pierced the soles of the 
hero's feet, and severe was the 
enterprise. " One drink out of 
Fingal's cup" (Chuach Fhinn). 
"You with the warm sweet words ! 
Since I have lost my strength 
and vigour in this attempt, it is 
cruel if you deny me." " I will 
not give you my cup" (Chuach}, 
"nor will I quench your drought ; 
as you have done little to please 
me and have done much to of- 
fend me." " I never did you 
any harm, up or down, east or 
west, but proceeded rashly to 
recover myself of my metamor- 

* Smith (p. 194) alters this passage a little ; and ascribes it to Gorman, in the 
room of Fingal, as I have already said : "'Measure,' said Connan, that little soul, 
'the boar which thou hast slain ! measure him with thy foot bare, a larger hath 
not been seen !' The foot of Dermid slides softly along the grain, no harm hath the 
hero suffered. ' Measure,' said Connan, ' the boar against the grain ! and thine, 
chief of spears, shall be the boon thou wilt ask.' The soul of Uermid was a stranger 
to fear ; he obeyed again the voice of Connan. But the bristly back of Golbun's 
boar, sharp as his arrows, and strong as his spear, pierces with a thousand wounds 
his feet. Dermid falls, like a tall pine on the heath." A boar sixteen feet long is 
vast indeed ! 

f Smith omits this conversation : he thus speaks of it in a note (p. 195) : " Such 
as may here miss the dialogue, concerning Chuach Fhinn, or the medicinal cup of 
Fingal, will remember that it is of so different a complexion from the rest of the poem 
that no apology needs be made for rejecting it as the interpolation of some later 
bard." Smith probably found it not easily susceptible of ornament, and inconsis- 
tent with his plan, as throwing the blame on Fingal ; which were certainly suffi- 

154 Legends and Traditions . 

Gleann sith an gleann siar rar The glen alongside of us is 

taobh dark; numerous there are the 

'Slion 'ar guth Feidh ann, 's loin, ruttings of deer, and the voices 

Gleann an trie an raibh an Fhiann of blackbirds : in that glen the 

A Nor 's an iar an deigh nan Con heroes often went east and west 

An Gleann sin fos Beinn Ghuilbin after their dogs the glen under 

ghuirm verdant Mount Golbun, whose 

'S ailidh tulachan tha fo'n Ghrein hillocks are the fairest beneath 

'Stric a bha na struthain dearg the sun ; where often the rivu- 

'N deigh do'n Fhian bhi seal an lets ran red after the heroes had 

fheidh. killed their deer. There, ex- 
Sin e na shine air an Raon tended on the green, lies the Son 
Mac O Duin' air a thaobh feall of O Duine, stretched on his 
Na shine re taobh an Tuirc lovely side along the boar, and 
Sin sgeul th'again duit gu dearbh. clad in all his armour. This 
Guill ei deadh oir is eah tale of truth have we to tell. 
'S an eigin nan Creach nach gann Alas, great is our loss ! the 
Lamh bu mhor Gaisg is griomh hand that performed many va- 
O choin mar tha'n saoidh sa liant deeds ! the chief of war- 

ghleann. riors lies in the glen ! 

In the foregoing poem it deserves to be remarked that Fingal is 
not only treated with little reverence, according to a former observa- 
tion of mine,* but is even represented as guilty of treachery. Mr. 
Stuart's narration of the death of Dermid agrees with the poem 
above in this respect; whereas Mr. Smith has chosen to represent it 
differently ; and more agreeable with the uncontaminated honour of 
Fingal, in the rest of his publication, and in the Ossian of Mac- 
pherson. Smith also attempts, in a note, p. 194, to palliate and 
cover the superstitious notion of the fatal consequences produced by 
walking along the back of a boar, in a direction contrary to the 
bristles ; no doubt, because he would have us suppose that the natives 
of the Highlands, unlike all other nations, have been ever guided by 
truth and reason. I wish the same intention had not hid many 
similar notions from the public ; for it is among such traditional 
prejudices that we must look for national character and the true 
knowledge of mankind. Reason is ever the same, but folly diverse. 
They would also, at the same time, have stamped greater authenticity 
on the poems which should have contained them. 

I am inclined to suspect that there are in the foregoing song some 
words directly derived from the English, as " Bheist," " thri," etc. 

cient reasons for his omitting it. I am not adequately acquainted with the secret 
history of Dermid to explain what is meant by his metamorphosis in my copy. 
* See Mag. for December last, p. 571 [see ante, p. 140], 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


[1783, Fart I., pp. 398-400.] 

The next poem, Mr. Urban, is an account of the death of Bran, 
Fingal's celebrated dog, which has not, as far as I know, been ever 
published before. It does not seem very clear what sort of dog he 
was, though the poem concludes with a singular description of him ; 
wherein, also, is contained a curious enumeration of the peculiar 
marks of excellence in dogs. 


(How Bran. 

Lag is lag oirn ars' a chorr 
'S fada cna mo luirg 'am dheigh 
Nam brisins 'i a nochd 
Gait am faighin lus na leigh. 

Leighisins 'i ars an dreolan 
O 'n leighis mi nioran romhad 
A chorribh tha o's ma cheann 
'S mis a leighis Fionn nam fleagh 
An la mharbh sinn an tore liath 
'S iomad Fian a bha san t sleibh 
'S iomad cuilean taobh - gheal 


Bha taobh ri taobh sa bheinn bhuig 
'Nuair shuidhich Fionn an t sealg 
'Sin nuair ghabh Bran fearg ra 

Throidd an da choin anns ant t 


Bran gu dian agus cu Ghuill 
Mu 'n d'fheadas smachd a chuir 

air Bran 

Dhealaich e naoi uilt ra dhruim 
Dh 'eirich Goll mor mac Smail 
Cuis nach bu choir mu cheann 


Bhagair e an lamh an roibh Bran 
Gun dail thoirt da ach a mhar- 


Dh 'eirich Ossian beag mac Fhinn 
'S cuig cead deug an codhail 

Labhair i an cora ard 

* This Gaul, the son of Smail, is surely a different person from Gaul, the son of 
Morni, of Macpherson and Smith ; but such varieties are common in the Highland 

t These huntings seem to have been undertaken by the whole clan together. 

was killed.) 

"We are foiled! we are foiled !'' 
says the heron, " my shank-bone 
is long behind ; should I break it 
in the night, where could I find a 
physician or medicine ?" 

"I would cure thee," says the 
wren, " as I cured many before 
thee. O heron, that lookest down 
upon me, it was I who cured the 
blithe Fingal, the day the grey 
boar was slain." Many a hero 
was then upon the moor ; many 
a handsome white-sided grey- 
hound stood, side by side, on the 
yellow mountain. When Fingal 
prepared for hunting, Bran grew 
angry about his food. Then the 
two dogs fought upon the moor, 
fierce Bran and Gaul's dog. Be- 
fore Bran could be managed, he 
severed nine joints from the 
other's back. The great Gaul, 
the son of Smail,* arose, incensed 
at the loss of his dog ; he threat- 
ened to put the hand that held 
Bran to immediate death. Little 
Ossian, the son of Fingal, got up, 
and fifteen hundred more,t to 
meet Gaul ; and spoke with a 
loud voice. 


Legends and Traditions. 

Caisgim do luath garg a Ghuill 
Bhuail mi buille do 'n eil bhuigh 
'S do na bailgibh fuin dairneach 
Dh 'adh 'laig mi an t 'or na 

'S truagh a rinn mi 'm beud ra 


Sheall mo chuilean thara ghualain 
B'iognadh leis mi ga bhualadh 
An lamh sin leis 'n do bhuaileadh 


'S truagh on ghualain nach do sgar 
Mun d'rinn mi am beud a bhos 
Gur truagh nach ann eug a chuaid- 


Ciod a bhuaidh a bhiodh air Bran 
Arsa Connan uabhreach miar? 

Fon a b' aois cuilean do Bhran 
'S fon chuir mi conn-ial air 
Chan fhacas am fianibh fail 
Lorg feidh an deigh fhagail 
Bu mhaith e hun an dorain du.nn 
Bu mhaith e thairt eisg a h 

Gum b' fhearr Bran a mharbha 


Na coin an tal on' d' thainig 
A cheud leige fhuair Bran riamh 
Air druim na coille coir Hath 
Naonar do gach fiadh ar bith 
Mharbh Bran air a cheud rith. 
Cassa buidhe bha aig Bran 
Da lios dhutha as torr geal 
Druim uaine on suidh an sealg 
Cluase corrach cro'-dhearg. 

" Let me stop thy bold hand, 
Gaul ! I struck Bran with the 
yellow thong, and sore did I 
repent : at which the famous Bran 
looked over his shoulder, sur- 
prised at my striking him. Pity 
it was, the hand that struck Bran 
had not been first severed from 
the shoulder. Ere I committed 
the deed, I could wish I had 
been no more."* 

" 'What were the qualifications 
of Bran ?' says rash Connan. 
(Ossian) : ' Since Bran was a 
whelp, and since I got a collar 
upon him, neither Fingal nor his 
heroes ever saw the track of a 
deer that left him. He was ex- 
cellent at the otter, was good at 
taking fish out of the water, and 
was more famous at killing 
badgers than any dog of his time. 
The first chace that ever Bran 
went, above the wood of Cori- 
liath, nine of all kinds of deer 
Bran ran down in the first pur- 
suit.' " 

" Bran's feet were of a yellow 
hue ; both his sides black, and 
his belly white ; his back was of 
an eel-colour, famous for the 
sport ; his ears sharp, erect, and 
of a scarlet colour." 

I have deferred, Mr. Urban, sending you the following poems, in 
the hope that I should have been able to accompany them with a 
translation ; for which purpose Dr. Willan, of Bartlet's Buildings, 
Holborn, was so kind as to transmit them to a friend of his in Scot- 
land. But the translation not having found its way to London, after 
a much longer delay than I had reason to expect, I send them to you 

* Bran appears to have been slain by this blow. The yellow thcng seems to 
have had some peculiarly fatal power in it, by this account of its effects. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 157 

in their original Erse. Should I hereafter receive this translation, I 
shall certainly trouble you with it. In the meanwhile, if any of your 
numerous readers who understand Erse will oblige me and, I trust, 
the public, by rendering this translation unnecessary, I have no doubt 
you will think yourself happy to insert it 

It becomes me to make some apology for the numerous errors in 
orthography which must necessarily have found their way into these 
Erse poems, published as they are by a stranger to the language. I 
can only say that it has been my constant endeavour to be as correct 
as possible, though I am conscious that nothing is more easy than to 
mistake one letter for another in an unknown tongue.* [See Note 
29.] There is, however, this consideration to be made, which perhaps 
will excuse many apparent errors, that the writers of Erse, in the 
Scottish Highlands, by no means agree in their mode of spelling. 
The reading and writing of the Scottish Erse has made hitherto but 
a small progress ; it certainly never appeared in the form of printing 
till of late years. What manuscripts there were seem to have been 
nown to few ; and even those few were, perhaps, obliged to Ireland 
for their knowledge, t Everyone to whom I shew these poems in the 
Highlands for translation, told me that they were written in the Irish 
dialect, and indeed they evidently appear to attribute Fingal to 
Ireland. \ 

I received the two following poems from Mac-Nab, at the same 
time with those which have preceded them. 


La do'n Fhein air Tullich toir Ri abharc nan Fian bu mhor Goil 
Re abhrac Erin man tiomichil bhi 

Chunairc iad air Bharibh Thonn Tshauntich a Bhiast teachd nan 
An Tarrachd eitidh aitail crom Innis 

She bainm do'n Dfhuadh nach Mhairbh i le Habhichd ciad 

ro fann Laoich 

Am Muilleartich maoil ruaigh 'Sa Gaira mor na Gairbh Chraois 

mathnn [maunlich] Gait a bheil Firr as fearr na Shud 

Bha Haodin du ghlas air dhreich An duigh ad Fhein a Mhic 

guail Cubhail 

Bha Deid carbadich claoin ruaigh Chuirinse shud air do Laibh 

Bha aoin Suil ghloggich na Ceann A Mhuileartich mhathion mhaoil 
'Sbu luaigh i na Rumich Maoirinn chammabach 

Bha greann ghlas-duth air a Ceann Air Sea Luchd chumail nan Conn 

Mar dhroich Coill - chrinich air Na bi oirne gad Mhaoithidh 

chritheann Gheibh thu Cubhigh asgaibh Shith 

* J has been erroneously placed instead of I in the word larla. See Mag. for 
Feb., p. 141. 

f See Mag. for December last, p. 570 [ante, p. 138]. 
I See Mag. for January last, p. 34 [ante, p. 143]. 


Legends and Traditions. 

Huirt Mac Cubhail an tard Riogh 
Gad gheibhinse Brigh Erin ulle 
A Hor 'sa Hairgid sa Huinbhis 
Bear leom thu Choisgairt mo 


Oscair sa Raoine sa Chaoirail 
An Tshleigh shin ris a bheil thu fas 
San aice ha do ghian-bhas 
Caillidh tu dosa Chinn chrin 
Re deo Mhac Ossian a dhear- 

Bussa dhuit Ord Chrottidh nan 


A chaigne fod '1 Fhiaclan 
Na Cobhrig nan P'ian fuillich 
'N shin nar gherich fraoich na 


Dherich Fiun flath na Feinigh 
Dherich Oscur flath na fearr 
Dherich Oscur agus lullin 
Dherich Ciar-dhuth Mac bramh 
Dherich Goll Mor agus Connan 
Dherich na Laoich nach bo tiom 
Laoich Mhic Cubhail nan Arm 


Agus roin iad Cro-coig-cath 
Mun Arrichd eitidh san Gleann 
A Cearthir Laoich abfhearr san 


Chobhrigidh i iad gu leir 
Agus fhrithilidh Siad ma sheach 
Mar ghath rinne na Lasrich 
Hachir Mac Cubhail an Aigh 
Agus a Bhiast Laibh air Laibh 
Bha Druchd air Barribh a Lainne 
Bha taibh a Cholla ri Guin 

Bha Braoin ga Fhuil air na 

Huit am Muileartich leis an 


Ach Ma thuit cha ban gun Strith 
Deichin cha duair e mar Shin 
O La Ceardich Loin Mhic Liob- 


Ghluais an Gothidh leis a Bhrigh 
Gu Teich athar an Ard Riogh 
'Sbu Sgeulidh le Gotha nan Cuan 
Gun do bharraigh am Muileartich 

m' athion maoil ruagh 
Mar dechidh e an Tailibh Toll 
Na mar do bhathigh am Muir 

dhobhain Long 
Caite an rb Dhaoine air bith 
Na bharraigh am Muileartich 


Cha ne bharbh i ach an Fhian 
Buidhin leis nach gabhir fiabh 
'S nach Deid Fua na Arrachd as 
Fon Tshluaigh aluin Fhalt-bhui 


Bheir mise briathar a rist 
Ma bharbhigh am Muileartich 


Nach f hag mise aoin na Ghleann 
Tom, Innis na Eilleain 
Bheir mi breapadich air Muir 
Agus Coragadich air Tir 


Agus ni mi ICroran /Coill 
Ga tarruing hugam as a Taibhi- 

chean [Freibhichean] 
'S mor an Luchd do Loingeas ban 
Erin uille d Thog bhail 
'S nach dechidh do Loingeas 

riabh air Sail 

Na thoga Coigibh do dh' Erin 
Mile agus Caogid Long 
Sin Caibhlich an Riogh gu trom 
A Dol gu Crichibh Erin 

Air hi na Feinigh nan Itaragh / 

, Fragments of Erse Poetry. 



/ ai \ 
Deich ciad Cuil\ea/n,deichciad 


Deich ciad Slaibhrigh air Mil chu 
I Sleigh i 

Cha ni shud ach an Aoin Chasach 

Brattich Chaoilte nan Mor 


Deichciad\Seali.uin/chaoilChatha, Brattach leis an sgoiltear Cinn, 

Deich ciad Brat min Datha, 

/Each | 
Deich ciad \GearaltichJ cruaigh 


Deich ciad Nobul don Or dhearg, 
Deich ceud Maighdin le da Ghun, 
Deich ceid Mantul don Tshid Ur, 
Deich ceid Sonn a dherigh leat, 
Deich ciad Srian Oir & airgid. 

Riogh Lo'chlin. 
Gad a gheibhidh Riogh Lochlin 

'S na bha' Mhaoin 'sdo Tsheidin 

an Erin, 

Cha fhilligh e T'shluaigh air ais 
Gus 'mbigh Erin ull' air Earras 
Suil gan dug Riogh 


Uaigh chunnair e Brattich a tin 
Amach & Gille gaiste air a Ceann, 
Air a lasc do Dh or Eirinich 
Dibhuille, Duibhne, dualich, 
Ni shud Brattich Mhic Trein- 

Cha ni shud ach an Liath luid- 


Brattich Dhiarmaid o Duibhne 
'Snar bhigh an Fhian ul' amach 
'Shi Liath-luidnich bu tosich 

Suil gan dug Riogh 
Lochlin, &c 

'S an doirtir Fuil gu Aoibranibh. 
Suil, &c. 

Cha ni shud ach an Scuab gha- 

bhigh : 

Brattach Oscur Chro' laidir, 
Snar a ruigte Cath nar Cliar 
Cha biach fhiarich ach Scuab- 

Suil, &c. 

Cha ni sud ach a Bhriachil 

bhreochil : 
Brattach Ghuill Mhoir Mhic 

Morni :* 

Nach dug Troigh air a hais 
Gus n do chrith an Tailibh 
Suil, &c. 


'S misa dhuitsa na bheil ann : 
Ha Ghil ghreine an sud a tighin, 
As Naoigh Slaibhrinin aist a shios 

Don Or bhuigh gunlDal/Sgiabh, 

I 1 1 

Agus Naoigh nao lan-gheU/s- 


Fo Cheann a huille Slaibhrigh 
Atogairt air feo do Tshuaighthibh 

Mar Cliabh-tragha gu Traigh, 
Bigh gair Chatha gad iummain. 
There are many reasons to conclude that these two poems are 
either much interpolated or the work of a late age. Many words, 
apparently derived from the English, occur in them, similar to those 
in the song of the Death of Dermid ; such are " Bheist," " Nobul,"' 
" Maighdin," " Mantul," " Ghun," etc. 

* Hc/e Gaul is called the son of Morni, see note * in p. 398 [ante, p. 155] : he is 
always called Mhoir Ghuil, or Great Gaul, and seems to have been esteemed one 
of the largest of the Fingalian giants. 

160 Legends and Traditions. 

[1783, Part I., pp. 489-494.] 

When I left Dalmaly the last time, I requested Mac-Nab to send 
after me such Erse poems as he might afterwards collect : in conse- 
quence of which he inclosed a song called " Urnigh Ossian" (or, 
Ossian's prayers), in the following letter : 

" SIR, I send you this copy of " Ossian's Prayers." I could give 
you more now if I had time to copy them : them I gave you was 
partly composed when they went from their residence (in Cromgleann 
nam Cloch), that is, Glenlyon, Perthshire, to hunt to Ireland. I 
have some good ones, I mean poems, on Fingal's tour to Lochlann 
or Denmark, wherein the Danes was defeated and their women 
brought captive to Scotland. The bearer hurries me to conclude. 
" I am, sir, in haste, your most humble servant, 

" Barchastan, 27 tk June, 1780. "ALEX. M'NAB. 

" P.S. Please to write if they overtake you." 

In this letter Mac-Nab seems to imply that the Fingalians divided 
their time between Ireland and Scotland ; though the songs them- 
selves mention only Erin or Ireland, its peculiarities and traditions. 
The following song, called " Ossian's Prayers," which indeed is in 
many respects the most curious of any, is also the only one he gave me 
which mentions Scotland or Allabinn. He, however, related to me 
the history of another song, a copy of which has been published by 
Smith in his " Galic Antiquities,"* under the title of "The Fall of 
Tura ;" likewise mentioning Scotland, and containing some other 
remarkable particulars ; on which account I shall take the liberty of 
inserting it. It differs in many circumstances from the narrative in 
Smith, though the leading events are similar. 

The people of Fingal, according to Mac-Nab, being on some 
excursion, a villain called Garrellt took the opportunity to set fire to 
one of their castles, of which it seems they had many in different 
places. This castle stood in the isle of Skye, and their women were 
confined in it : " for," said Mac-Nab, " they kept many women, like 
the Turks." The castle being burnt down by this means, the women, 
unable to escape, were all destroyed together. The Fingalians were 
at that time sailing on the coast, and saw the fire ; but, though they 
used all the speed in their power, they arrived too late to prevent the 

The above story, thus simply related by Mac-Nab, agrees with 
what he says in his letter about the Danish women being brought 
captive to Scotland by the Fingalians, and with the known manners 

* See Mag. for December last, p. 571, and for February, pp. 141 and 144, where 
this work has been already quoted [ante, pp. 140, 150, 151]. 

t Smith calls this man Gara ; and represents him as one of Fingal's Heroes, who 
was left at home as a guard when the accident happened. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 161 

of barbarous nations. It does not so well agree with the representa- 
tion of Macpherson and Smith.* 

Glenlyon, which Mac-Nab, in his letter, speaks of as one of the 
principal abodes of the Fingalians, lies in the western part of Perth- 
shire, on the borders of Argyleshire, near Loch-Tay. 

Throughout this country are many ruins of rude stone walls, 
constructed in a circle, the stones of which are very large ; these are 
said by tradition to be the work of Fingal and his Heroes. One of 
these ruins is close by Mac-Nab's house. The Pictish houses are 
buildings of this sort. 

Many places in the country, as glens, lochs, islands, etc., are 
denominated from the Fingalians. The largest cairns which abound 
here are said to be their sepulchral monuments : indeed, all striking 
objects of nature, or great works of rude and ancient art, are attri- 
buted to them, as other travellers have already informed the world. 
The zeal of Fingalianism has, however, in one instance, bestowed these 
titles improperly. The great cave of StafFa, which Sir Joseph Banks 
calls " Fingal's Cave," is, by the inhabitants, called the " Cave of 
Twilight." The Erse word for twilight is similar to the sound which 
we give to the name of Fingal ; and hence proceeded the error. 

I am sorry to say I never received any more songs from Mac-Nab 
after the " Urnigh Ossian ;" though I wrote him an answer, request- 
ing that he would favour me with any others he pleased, and urged 
every persuasive to obtain them. Money is little used, and therefore 
little esteemed, in the Highlands of Scotland. 

Barchastan, from whence he dates his letter, is the name of the 
house he lives at, in the parish of Dalmaly in Glenorchy. 

The following song, called "Urnigh Ossian," or "Ossian's Prayers," 
is the relation of a dispute between Ossian and St. Patrick on the 
evidence and excellence of Christianity. The arguments of St. 
Patrick are by no means those of an able polemic ; but the objec- 
tions of Ossian carry with them the internal marks of antiquity ; they 
are evidently the objections of a rude polytheist, totally ignorant of 
the nature of the Christian tenets, and such as no later bards in such 
a rude country would ever have been able to invent without some 
original and traditional foundation. Ossian seems to have thought 
that hell might be as agreeable as heaven if there were as many deer 
and dogs in it. "Why," says Ossian, "should I be religious if 
heaven be not in the possession of Fingal and his heroes ? I prefer 
them to thy God and thee, O Patrick !" So Purchas relates, t that 
when the Spaniards attempted to convert the inhabitants of the 
Phillipine isles to Christianity, they answered that they would rather 
be in hell with their forefathers than in heaven with the Spaniards. 

* See Magazine for February, pp. 143 and 144 [ante, p. 152]. 
f Pilgrimage Asia, ch. 16. 
VOL. IV. 1 I 


Legends and Traditions. 

According to Mac-Nab, Fingal seems to have been the Odin of 
the Scots ; for he said they had no religion prior to Christianity but 
the reverence of Fingal and his race. This account agrees with the 
entire deficiency of religious ideas in the Ossian of Macpherson and 
Smith, and with the opinions and prejudices expressed in the follow- 
ing poem and in some of the foregoing.* 

The "Urnigh Ossian" evidently appears, even through the medium 
of the following rude translation, to be superior in poetic merit to 
any of the songs which accompany it. I am very sorry the transla- 
tion is not entire. The first twenty-one verses and the last verse, or 
thirty-sixth, were translated for me at Oban in Argyleshire, by a 
schoolmaster there, who was procured by Mr. Hugh Stephenson, inn- 
keeper at Oban. The remainder of the translation was sent me from 
Edinburgh, in consequence of Dr. Willan's application.t I wish 
some of your readers, Mr. Urban, could be induced to supply the 


Aithris sgeula Phadruig 
An onair do Leibhigh 
'Bheil neamh gu harrid 
Aig Uaisliamh na Fe'inne. 


Bheirinnsa mo dheurbha dhuit 
Oshein nan glonn 
Nach bheil Neamh aig t athair 
Aig Oscar no aig Goll. 


Relate the tale of Patrick, in 
honour of your ancestors. Is 
heaven on high in the possession 
of the Heroes of Fingal ? 


I assure thee, O Ossian ! father 
of many children \\ that heaven is 
not in the possession of thy father, 
nor of Oscar, nor of Gaul. 

* See Mag. for January last, p. 34, v. 4 [ante, p. 143]. 
f. See Mag. for May, p. 399 [ante, p. 156]. 

J This is ever accounted a great honour among Barbarians. See also Mag. for 
Feb. last [ante, p. 150], Ossian agus an Clerich, v. 47, p. 141. 

I copied at Mac-Nab's, out of one of his MSS., the following lines, relative to 
Gaul above mentioned ; which relate an incident remarkably similar to the stories 
told of Achilles, Hercules, and the Teutonic giant Thor, etc. I observed in the 
last Magazine, p. 400, that Gaul is generally esteemed one of the greatest of the 
giants : this extract describes one still mightier than he. 
Cho dtugain mo sgian do riogh na do Fhlath 
No do dhuin air bith gun amhith no mhath 
Naoicl guinuiran do sgun achuire anamsa Goull 
'Scho n fhuigin a thri annan biodh mo sgian nam dhonr 
Ach dom gan tug luthadh lamh-ada anancean Ghuill anathadh 
Gheigs e rann bhris e enai geal anceanmhum horn a mhi lean ta 
Chuii emhala farafeal mhaoidn eain adheud rum h'or 
Chuir e falam hors aghuiudhi agus enig me air na truighe 
Sb'huin adhann don tallamh 'sgula bhath belhidh fhaill 'ann 
Farnach deanadh andan ach ball gorm na glas 
Se ruda dheanadh an sgian an riach sanrrachadh abhor. 

The sense of these lines, Mac-Nab gave me as follows : "Gaul and Uvavat had 
n violent conflict : Gaul had a knife, Uvavat had none : Gaul stabbed Uvavat nine 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


'Sdona'n sge"ula Phadruig 
'Ta agad damhsa Chlerich 
Com'am hethinnsa ri crabha 
Mur bheil Neamh aig Flaith na 


Nach dona sin Oishein 
Fhir nam briathra boille 
Gum b'f hear Dia ri 'sgacto aon'chas 
Na Fiani'n Allabinn Uille. 

Bfhearr leam aon' Chath laidir 
'Churieadh Fiunn na F&nne 
Na Tighearnagh achrabhidh sin 
Is tusa Chlereich. 


Ga beag aChubhail chrobhnanach 
Is mbnaran na Grdine 
Gun fhios don Riogh mhord- 

Cha dted fieidh bhile do Sgdithe. 

'Nsaoil u'm bionan e s mac Cub- 

An Riogh sin a bha air na Fian- 

Dh'fheudadh fir an domhain 

Dol na Thallamhsan gun iaruidh. 


It is a pitiful tale, O Patrick ! that 
thou tellest me the Clerk of: 
Why should I be religious, if 
Heaven be not in the possession 
of the Heroes of Fingal ? 


How wicked is that, O Ossian ! 
thou who usest blasphemous ex- 
pressions : God is much more 
mighty than all the Heroes of 


I would prefer one mighty battle 
fought by the Heroes of Fingal, 
to the God of thy worship, and 
thee, O Clerk. 


Little as is the Chubhail, or the 
sound of Greint, yet it is as well 
known to this Almighty King as 
the least of your shields.* 


Dost thou imagine that he is 
equal to the son of Comhall? 
that King who reigned over the 
nations, who defeated all the 
people of the earth, and visited 
their kingdoms unsent for ?t 

times with his knife : Uvavat said, if he had had his knife, he would not have 
suffered a third part so much ; at last, lifting up his arm, he struck Gaul on the 
skull, and fractured it : broke his bone ; removed his brow ; knock t out his teeth ; 
knockt off his knee-pan and his five toes ; all at one blow. The mark of the blow 
shall remain in the ground for ever." Gaul's knife mentioned here seems to have 
been a kind of dirk ; which, like the dagger of Hudibras, served in these rude 

" Either for fighting or for drudging ; 
And when't had stabb'd or broke a head, 
It would scrape trenchers or chip bread." 

* This verse appears to be erroneously translated ; the translator said, he knew 
not how to render the words Chubhail and Greine properly : the third verse also, 
in which Ossian is called the Clerk, a title commonly, given to St. Patrick, and 
some few other parts, seem altogether not correct. 

t I suspect the expressions translated by Macpherson, The Kings of the World, 
are somewhat similar to these. Fingal is here represented as a Bacchus or Sesostris. 

II 2 


Legends and Traditions. 


Oishain 'sfada do shuain 
Eirich suas is eist na 'Sailm 
Chaill a do luth sdo rath 
Scho chuir u cath ri la garbh. 

Mo chail mi mo luth smo rath 
'Snach mairionn cath abh'aig 

Dod chleirsneachd sa's beag mo 

'S Do chiol eisteachd chon f heach 



Cha chualas co mhath mo cheoil 
O thus an domhain mhoir gus 


Tha u aosta annaghleochd liath 
Fhir a dhioladh Cliar air chnochd. 


'Stric a dhiol mi cliar air chnochd 
'Illephadreig is Olc run 
'S eacoir dhuitsa chain mo chruth 
O nach dfhuair u guth air thus. 


Chualas Ceol oscionn do cheoil 
Ge mbr a mholfas tu do Chliar 
Ceol air nach luigh leatrom 

Faoghar cuilc aig an Ord Fhiann. 


'Nuair a Shuigheadh Fiunn air 


Sheinnemid port don Ord fhiann 
Chuire nan codal na Slbigh 
'S Ochoin ba bhinne na do Chliar. 


O thou Ossian ! long sleep has 
taken hold of thee ! rise, to hear 
the Psalms ! Thou hast lost thy 
strength and thy valour, neither 
shalt thou be able to withstand 
the fury of the day of battle. 


If I have lost my strength and 
my valour, and none of Fingal's 
battles be remembered, I will 
never pay respect to thy Clerk- 
ship, nor to thy pitiful songs. 


Such beautiful songs as mine were 
never heard till this night.* O 
thou who hast discharged many a 
slingf upon the hills ! though 
thou art old and unwise. 

OSSIAN. ii. 

Often have I discharged many a 
slingt upon a hill, O thou Patrick 
of wicked mind! In vain dost thou 
endeavour to reform me, as thou 
first hast been appointed to do it. 


Music we have heard that exceeds 
thine, though thou praisest so 
much thy hymns, songs which 
were no hindrance to our Heroes; 
the noble songs of Fingal. 


When Fingal sat upon a hill, and 
sung a song to our Heroes, which 
would enchant the multitude to 
sleep oh, how much sweeter was 
it than thy hymns !{ 

* This seems to refer to the custom of singing songs at night, a favourite enter- 
tainment of the Highlands perhaps to this day. In v. 8, Ossian seems to be repre- 
sented as falling asleep, instead of listening to St. Patrick. 

t The word Cliar, here translated sling, may perhaps mean some other weapon. 

% When the Bards sung their songs at night, it seems to have been their custom 
to pursue them till they had lulled their audience to sleep : see v. 10 and note : 
which accounts for the singular effect here attributed to Fingal's Songs. It is 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


Smeorach bheag dhuth o Ghleann 


Faghar nam bare ris an tuim 
Sheinnemid fein le' puirt 
'Sbha sinn fein sairCruitt ro bhinn. 

Bha tri gaothair dheug aig Fiunn 
Leigadhmed iad air Ghleann 


'S b abhenne Glaoghairm air con 
Na do chlaig a Cleirich chaidh. 

1 6. 

Coid arinn Fiunn air Dia 
A reir do Chliar is do scoil 
Thug e la air pronnadh Oir 
San ath lo air meoghair Chon. 

Aig miad t fhiughair ri meoghair 


'Sri diolagh scol gach aon la 
'Sgun eisheamail thoirt do Dhia 
'Nois tha Fiunn nan Fianrt an 


1 8. 

Sgann achreideas me do sge'ul 
A Chleirich led leabhar ban 
Gum bithidh Fiunnna chomh-f hial 


Sweet are the thrush's notes, and 
lovely the sound of the rushing 
waves against the side of the bark ; 
but sweeter far the voice of the 
harps, when we touched them to 
the sound of our songs. 


Frequently we heard the voices 
of our Heroes among the hills 
and glens ; and more sweet to 
our ears was the noise of our 
hounds than thy bells, O Clerk !* 


Was Fingal created to serve God, 
to please the Clerk and his 
school ?t he who has been one 
day distributing gold,* and an- 
other following the toes, of dogs ? 

ST. PATRICK. 1 7. 

As much respect as thou payest 
to the toes of dogs, and to dis- 
charge thy daily school : yet, 
because thou hast not paid re- 
spect to God, thou and the 
heroes of thy race shall be led 
captive in hell. 

OSSIAN. 1 8. 

I can hardly believe thy tale, 
thou light-haired and unworthy 
Clerk ! I that the Heroes of our 

related of Alfarabi, whom Abulfeda and Ebn Khabcan call the greatest Philosophies 
of the Mussulmans, that being at the Court of Seifeddoula, Sultan of Syria, and 
requested to exhibit some of his Poems, he produced one, which he sung to an 
accompaniment of several instruments. The first part of it threw all his audience 
into a violent laughter, the second part made them all cry, and the last lulled even 
the performers to sleep. Herb. Diet. Orient, in voce. Thus also Mercury is said 
to have lulled Argus to sleep. 

* Ossian agrees with modern hunters, in his idea of the music of a pack of hounds. 
The bells mentioned in this verse appear to be an interpolation. 

t " And Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice to let Israel 
go? I know not Jehovah." Exod. v. 2. 

t The word in the original signifies pounding gold : it occurs again in v. 19. 

What school did Ossian keep? 

|| Why was light-hair esteemed an opprobrium ? the Erse themselves are a red- 
haired race. 

1 66 

Legends and Traditions. 

Aig duine no aig Dia 


Ann an Ifrionn tha e"n laimh 
Fear Ic'n sath bhi pronnadh Oir 
Air son a dhiomios air Dia 
Chuirse e'n tigh pian fuidh bhron. 

Nam bithidh Clanna' Morn' 


'S Clann Oboigt? nam fear treun 
Bheiremidne Fiurm amach 
No bhiodh an teach aguinn fein. 


Cionfheodhna na Halabinn ma- 

Air leatsa gum ba mhor am 


Cho dtuga sin Fiunn amach 
Ged bhiodh an teach aguibhfein. 


Coid an tail loghairne fein 
Aphadruig a le"ibhas an scoil 
Nach co math's Flathinnis De 
Ma Gheibhar ann Feigh is Coin. 


Bha mise la air Sliabh boid, 
Agus Coilte ba chruaigh lann : 
Bha Oscar ann's Goll nan Sliagh, 
Donall nam fleagh s Ronul on 


Fiunn mac Cubhill, borb abhriogh, 
Bha e na Riogh os air ceann 
Tri mic ard Riogh na n sgia : 
Ba mhor amian air dol a Shealg. 
Sa phadruig nam bachoil fial, 

an race should be in captivity, either 
to the devil or to God. 


He is now bound in hell, who 
used to distribute gold. Because 
he was a despiser of God, he has 
hell for his portion. 

OSSIAN. 20. 

If the children of 'Morni, and the 
many tribes of the children of 
Ovi, were yet alive, we would 
force the brave Fingal out of hell, 
or the habitation should be our 


Valiant as you imagine the brave 
Scots were, yet Fingal they would 
not release, though they should 
be there themselves. 

OSSIAN. 22. 

What place is that same hell, 
Patrick of deep learning? Is it 
not as good as the Heaven of 
God, if hounds and deer are 
found there ?t 


Fingal, the son of Comhal, fierce 
in action, was King over us. To 
the three sons of the King of 
Shields, pleasant was the chace. 
Generous Patrick of the innocent 

* The visit of Hercules to hell, for the purpose of delivering Theseus and 
fetching up Cerberus, is strikingly similar to the idea of this verse. 

f Mac-Nab mentioned this verse and the thirty-sixth when I saw him : for he 
had spoken to me about this poem before he sent it. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


Cho leigeadh iad Dia os an 

Ba bheach learn Dearmad O' 


Agus Fearagus ba bhinne Gloir 
Nam ba chead leat, mi esan 

A Chleirich nuadh, a theid don 


Com nach cead learn u dan 

luaidh ? 

Ach thoir aire gu luath air Dia 
'Nois tha deireadh air t.aois 
'Scuir do d bhaois, a shean f hir le. 


Phadruig ma thug u cead beagann 
A labhairt duin, 
Nach Aidmhich u mas cead le 

Flath nan fiann arait' air thus. 


Cha d tug mise comas duit, 
Shean fhir chursta, is tu liath, 
B fhear Mac moire ri aon lo 
No duine dtaineg riamh. 

staff! they would never permit 
God to be named as their su- 


Much rather would I speak of 
Dermid, and Duino, and Fergus 
of eloquent speech, if you would 
give me leave to mention them, 

holy man who goest to 
Rome !t 


Why should I not permit you to 
mention them ? But take care 
to make mention of God. Now 
the last things are become first ;' 
change thou, therefore, thy ways, 
old man with the grey locks.}: 

OSSIAN. 27. 

Patrick, since thou hast given me 
leave to speak a little, wilt thou 
not permit us, with God's leave,, 
to mention the King of Heroes 
first ? 


1 by no means give thee leave^ 
thou wicked, grey-haired man ! 
The son of the Virgin Mary is 
more excellent than any man 
who ever appeared upon earth. 

* Though Ossian is generally represented as the son of Fingal, this verse does 
not seem to speak of him as such. Mac-Nab said that St. Patrick was Fingal's 
son. See Mag. for Jan. last, p. 34 [ante, p. 142]. 

f The contest here, considerably resembles that at the beginning of Ossian agus. 
an Cleruh (see Mag. for Jan. as above). The Roman Catholic superstition of 
later times in this passage evidently discovers itself: perhaps the innocent staff 
mentioned in verse 24, may have some reference to the crosier. 

J St. Patrick, Jesuit-like, seems willing to compound with Ossian; and to admit 
the Pagan songs, provided Ossian, on the other hand, would admit Christianity. 
Part of this verse is scriptural, "So the last shall be first and the first last, jor many 
are called but few chosen'' Matt. xx. 16, and see also Mark ix. 35. Jesus Christ 
is here meant by the title of God. See verse 28. 

The opposition of Ossian seems to be considerably weakened in this versa-:- 
but he still wishes to see his old superstitions maintain their superiority. 

1 68 

Legends and Traditions. 

Nir raibh math aig neach fum 


Gam bfhear etein na mo thriat 
Mac muirneach, nach d'eittich 

Scha leige se Dia os a chian. 


Na comh'ad 'usa Duine n Dia, 
Sheann fhir le, na breathnich e, 
'S fada on thainig aneart 
'Smairfidh se ceart Gu brath. 

3 1 - 

'Chomhadinnse Fuinn nam fleagh 
Ri aon neach a sheall sa Ghrein 
Cha d iarr se riamh ni air neach 
'Scha mho dhiarr se neach ma ni. 


Compare not any to God ; har- 
bour no such thoughts, old man ! 
Long has His superior power 
stood acknowledged, and it shall 
for ever continue. 

OSSIAN. 31. 

I certainly would compare the 
hospitable Fingal to any man who 
ever looked the sun in the face. 
He never asked a favour of an- 
other, nor did he ever refuse when 
asked. * 

3 2 - 
'S bheiremid seachd cath a fichead 

an Fhian 

Air Shithair druim a Cliar amuidh : 
'Scho d tugamid Urram do Dhia 
No chean cliar a bha air bith. 

Seachd catha fichiad duibhs nar 

Fein : 
Cho do chreid sibh an Dia nan 


Cha mhairionn duine dar Sliochd, 
Scha bheo ach riochd Oishein 



Cha ne sin ba choireach ruinn, 
Ach Turish Fhinn a dhol don 

Roimh : 

Cumail Cath Gabhridh ruinn fein 
Bha e Claoidh bhur Fe"in ro mohr. 

Ossian seems to have been offended at the gross reproaches which the humility 
of the Christian Apostle here bestows with all the prodigality of one of Homer's 
heroes : and he answers him with the rough but generous boldness of barbarous in- 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 169 


Cha ne Chlaoidh sibh Uille fhann, 
A mhic Fhinn os gearr gud re, 
Eist ri rk Riogh nam bochd, 
lar thusa nochd neamh dheut 


36. OSSIAN. 36. 

Comraich an da Abstail deiig The belief of the twelve Apostles 
Gabham chugam fein aniugh : I now take unto me ; and if I 
Ma rinn mise Peacadh trom have sinned greatly, let it be 

Chuir an cnochd sa n torn fa'n- thrown into the grave. 


Barchastan, Glenorchy, June 27th, 1780. C R i o c H. 

[1783, Part II., pp. 590-592-] 

I shall conclude these Erse Songs with a poem called " The Ode 
of Oscar," whose authenticity, perhaps, admits the least dispute of 
any which I have sent you. I did not obtain it, like most of the rest, 
from Mac-Nab, but wrote it down immediately from the mouth of a 
man, who was a wright or carpenter, at Mr. Macleane's of Drumnan 
in Morven, and who knew a number of these songs. Mrs. Macleane 
and her son's wife, a daughter of Sir Alexander Macleane, were so 
kind as to sit by and translate for me, while he repeated and I wrote. 
In order to have some kind of check against deception, I attempted 
to write down the Erse together with the translation ; but as a lan- 
guage written by one who is a stranger to it must necessarily be un- 
intelligible, I shall only trouble you with the latter. The poem relates 
the death of Oscar, which is the subject of the first book of Mac- 
pherson's "Temora." It opens with a lamentation for the death of 
Chaoilte, which is foreign to the rest of the song : a practice not un- 
common among the poems attributed to Ossian, and similar to that 
of " Pindar." I do not remember to have met with the name of 
Chaoilte in Macpherson or Smith, but it has already been twice men- 
tioned in the foregoing songs: in "Cubha Fhinn," line 27, and 
" Urnigh Ossian," verse 23. 

I. 2. 

I am very sad after thee, Chaoilte, Chaoilte, my dear foster-brother ! 

since those who were my contem- I would fight under thy banners 

poraries are departed : I am filled in all weathers. Chaoilte ! thou 

with grief, sorrow, and pain, since wert my support in time of suc- 

my foster-brother is gone from cess and honour, 

* The intimate connections of fosterage, here so strongly expressed, are in a 
great degree peculiar to Ireland, and seem strongly to point out the origin of this 

i ;o 

Legends and Traditions. 

Did you hear Fingal's journeys 
on every forest in Erin? Great 
Cairbar, with his armour, sent 
for us to destroy us.* 

4, and 5. 

We were not all of us about the 
house that were able to satisfy 
him, but nine-score of noble 
riders, on great grey horses. We 
got honour and respect as we at 
all times acquired; but we got 
still more than that, Comhal and 
Cairbar pursuing us.f 


The last day of our drinking- 
match, Cairbar spoke with his 
tremendous voice : " I want we 
should exchange arms, brown 
Oscar thatcomest from Albion."}; 

OSCAR. 7. 

What exchange do you want to 
make, great Cairbar, who even 
press the ships into your service, 
and to whom I and all my host 
belong, in time of war and 
battle ? 


Surely it is oppression to demand 
our heads when we have not 
arms to defend ourselves. The 
reason of your doing so is, our 
being deprived both of Fingal 
and his son. 


Were Fingal and my father with 
us, as they used to be, you would 
not during your whole life obtain 
the breadth of your feet in Erin.|| 


The great hero (Cairbar) was 
filled with rage at the dispute 
which arose between them. 
There were exceeding horrible 
words between Cairbar and Os- 



That night the women had a 
warm dispute about the heroes, 
and even Cairbar and Oscar 
themselves were half-and-half 


Nine-score men, armed with bows 
and arrows, that came to destroy 

* This verse exactly agrees with the narrative of Macpherson. 

t These verses are by no means consonant to the Poems of Macpherson. Riding 
is a practice unknown in them ; his heroes are all charioteers. The Comhal of 
Macpherson also is the father of Fingal ; whereas here he is united with Cairbar, 
Fingal's greatest foe. 

J The quarrel in Macpherson begins after a treacherous feast ; though not of so 
long a duration as that here referred to. Cairbar, in Macpherson, does not desire 
Oscar to exchange, but to surrender his spear. " ' Oscar,' said the dark red Cairbar, 
' I behold the spear of Erin. The spear of Temora glitters in thy hand, son of 
woody Morven ! Yield it, son of Ossian ! Yield it to car-borne Cairbar.' " 
Temora, book I. 

'"Shall I yield,' Oscar replied, 'the gift of Erin; injured King,'" etc. The 
reply of Oscar, in the poem above, by no means agrees with Macpherson : it even 
seems to represent Oscar as a vassal of Cairbar. 

|| "Were he who fought with little men (Fingal) near Atha's haughty Chief 
(Cairbar); Atha's Chief would yield green Erin to avoid his rage." Temora, as 
above, book I. 

H What night is this ? What have women to do with the dispute ? There is 
no appearance of these circumstances in Macpherson. I suspect there is some 
omission in this part of the poem. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 


us, all these fell by the hand of 
Oscar, enraged by the sons of 


Nine-score strong able Irishmen, 
that came bounding over the 
rough Highland seas, all these 
fell by the hand of Oscar, en- 
raged at the sons of Ireland.* 


Nine-score brave sons of Albion, 
that came from rude and distant 
climes, all these fell by the hand 
of Oscar, enraged at the sons of 

T 5- 

When the red-haired Cairbar saw 
Oscar destroying his people, he 
threw his javelin dipped in poison 
at Oscar, f 

1 6. 

Oscar fell on his right knee, 
and the poisoned javelin pierced 
through his heart ; but before he 
expired, he struck a mortal blow 
that killed the King of Erin.J 


Fingal addressed his grandson, 
and said, " Do you remember 

the dreadful battle we fought on 
Ben Erin? You were sorely 
wounded on that day, yet were 
you cured by my hand." 

1 8. 

Oscar replied to his grandfather, 
" My cure is not under the 
Heavens, for Cairbar plunged 
his javelin dipped in poison be- 
tween my navel and my reins. "|| 


And there was great slaughter 
that day by the hand of Oscar ; 
he slew Cairbar at one blow, and 
his son Arsht, that great hero, at 
the next.lf 


We bore the corpse of the beau- 
tiful Oscar sometimes on our 
shoulders and sometimes on our 
javelins. We carried him in the 
most respectful manner to the 
hall of his grandfather.** 


And Oscar said, "The howlings 
of my own dogs, and the cries 
of the old heroes, with the dread- 
ful lamentation of the women, 

* The original, I believe, represents Oscar as a giant, and as killing these multi- 
tudes at one stroke : the title of Great Hero given to Cairbar, v. 10, and to Arsht, 
v. 19, I believe is also Giant, in the Erse. I do not understand why Irishmen are 
represented in v. 12 as bounding over the Highland seas to Ireland. "Behold," 
says Macpherson, " they fall before Oscar, like groves in the desert, when an angry 
ghost rushes through night and takes their green heads in his hand. Morlath falls, 
Maronnan dies, Conachar trembles in his blood." 

t "Dark red Cairbar" (see note J, on verse 6). Macpherson does not mention 
poison. " Cairbar shrinks before Oscar's sword. He creeps in darkness behind a 
stone, he lifts the spear in secret, and pierces Oscar's side." 

J "Oscar falls forward on his shield, his knee sustains the Chief. But still his 
spear is in his hand. See gloomy Cairbar falls !" 

How came Fingal to his grandson ? there seems to have been an omission in 
this place also. Fingal is the Machaon of his army here, as in the song of the 
death of Dermid. Mag. for Feb., p. 143 [ante, p. 150]. 

II The wound is described here with all the particularity of Homer. 

11 Arsht is not mentioned by Macpherson. See also note*, on vv. 12, 13, 14. 

** Fingal is evidently represented there as living in Ireland, in spite of v. 6, and 
vv. 12, 13, 14. Macpherson transports the corpse, by sea, to Morven. 

172 Legends and Traditions. 

grieve me more than the pain I son. My heart beats sore at thy 
feel from the poisoned javelin."* untimely end : it galls me to the 
22 soul that Oscar is no more."}: 

Such were the distresses of the 24. 

multitude for Oscar, that even It was never imagined by any 

the women forgot to grieve for person that your heart was made 

their own husbands or their of any other materials than 

brothers, as all that surrounded steel. 
the house were mourning for Os- 25. 

car.f Oscar, the son of my lucky be- 

23. loved Ossian, raised the vast flag 

Fingal said, " Thou wert my son from off the head of the King, 

and the son of my son ; thou which was the last brave action 

wert my love and the love of my of the hero.|| 

Mr . Macpherson, in a note on his " Temora,"1T mentions an Irish 
poem on this subject which he had seen, and wherein the death of 
Oscar is related with many different circumstances. The quarrel is, 
indeed, ascribed to a dispute at a feast, about the exchange of arms ; 
but it does not represent the heroes as fighting till some time after, 
when Cairbar met Oscar at the pass of Gabhra, through which Oscar 
was returning home with the spoils of Ireland, which he had been 
ravaging in consequence of the quarrel. Possibly Mr. Macpherson 
might say the foregoing poem also is Irish, and, indeed, not without 
reason, notwithstanding it contains some of the very passages he has 
inserted in his "Temora." 

Since I sent you, Mr. Urban, the two untranslated poems inserted 

* "When Oscar," says Macpherson, "saw his friends around, his heaving 
breast arose ! ' The groans,' he said, ' of aged chiefs, the howling of my dogs, the 
sudden bursts of the song of grief, have melted Oscar's soul ; my soul that never 
melted before.'" 

t "And the heroes did weep, O Fingal ! dear was the hero to thei/ souls ! 
No father mourned his son slain in youth, no brother his brother of love. They 
fell without tears, for the chief of the people is low." 

J P'ingal in Macpherson says, " Art thou fallen, O Oscar ! in the midst of thy 
course, the heart of the aged beats over thee ! Weep, ye heroes of Morven ! never 
more shall Oscar rise," etc. 

Oscar in Macpherson thus speaks of himself: "My soul that never melted 
before : it was like the steel of my sword." See the note on v. 21. 

II Mrs. Macleane, jun., to whose elegant abilities and hospitable friendship I 
was principally indebted for the foregoing song, honoured me with the traditional 
explication of this verse, which is in the true style of gigantic fable. It agrees with 
Macpherson in respect to Cairbar hiding himself in a hole, when he attacked Oscar : 
see the note on v. 15 : and represents Oscar as possessing an invulnerability, very 
similar to that of Achilles. "The word flag, here used, relates to the following 
story : Oscar could only be slain by his own javelin ; this Cairbar knew, when he 
desired to exchange arms with him. After Cairbar had slain Oscar with this 
javelin, he hid himself in a hole of the earth, and covered himself with an enormous 
flag, which is above referred to." Perhaps, however, the last verse affords some 
suspicion that it is itself a bare interpolation. 

U B. I, p. 14, edit. 8vo., 1773. 

Fragments of Erse Poetry. 1 73 

in your Magazine for May last, pp. 399 and 400, I have received the 
following account of their contents, in consequence of Dr. Willan's 
application to his friends at Edinburgh. The first of them, called 
" Uuan a Mhuileartich," is " an account of a hideous monster called 
Muileartach, which swam by sea into Ireland, attacked Fingal's army, 
killed a number of his men, and was at last killed by his own hand." 
I ardently wish that this remarkable poetical romance was literally 
translated, as it probably contains much curious knowledge. It 
strikingly resembles the serpent of Bagrada, which is said to have 
opposed the Roman army under Regulus in Africa. 

The first part of the other poem, called " Cubha Fhinn do Riogh 
Lochlin," describes " the compensation offered by Fingal to the King 
of Lochlin, to save Ireland from a threatened invasion " : 

" A thousand whelps, a thousand dogs ; 
A thousand collars * upon a thousand dogs ; 
A thousand spears f fit for battle ; 
A thousand fine plaids of the brightest colours ;^ 
A thousand hardy bay horses ; 
A thousand nobles of red gold ; 
A thousand maidens with two gowns ; || 
A thousand mantles of new silk ; U 
A thousand warriors wearing them ; 
A thousand bridles of gold and silver ; 

" Though the King of Lochlin should get these things and all the wealth of 
Ireland, he and his people would not return back till Ireland should be tributary 
to them."** 

The remainder of this poem is " a description of the standards of 
Fingal's army, as they appeared in order." Perhaps this part may 
contain some of the passages of Mr. Macpherson's "Ossian." 

It is already observed that these poems evidently appear to attribute 
Fingal to Ireland ;tt an assertion which the foregoing account so 
strongly corroborates, that I could not omit repeating it here. 

I shall trouble you, Mr. Urban, with another letter of conclusions, 
deducible, as they appear to me, from the foregoing premises, but 
which'I shall endeavour to render as short as possible. I think my- 
self much indebted to you, Sir, for the attention you have already 
shown to [see Note 30], 

Yours, etc., THO. F. HILL. 

* Or chains to lead them. 

t Or Lochaber axes. 

J Or fine wool or silk coverings. 

Or hard red breast-plates. 

II Such maidens were probably scarce. See also Mag. for June, p. 489, about 
the custom relating to women. 

IT See Mag. for May, p. 400. 

** Mac-Nab translated part of this poem for me : yet, though he wrote the copy 
O f it, he did not seem clearly to understand it. 
ft Mag. for May, p. W).[ante, p. 157]. 

Prophecies, Dreams-, and Ghost-Stories. 


Old Nixon. 

[1781, Part I., p. 124.] 

THE writer of this having heard many prophecies of Old Nixon, 
the Cheshire prophet, which have been said to have been fulfilled, 
as well as others which have failed of their completion, would be greatly 
obliged to any gentleman, possessed of materials relative to him, 
which may be depended on, if he will oblige him with some informa- 
tion on that subject. His prophecies are said never to have been 
printed, but are now in manuscript in the library of Mr. Cholmonde- 
ley of Vale Royal. One, relative to the death of the late proprietor 
of that seat, is reported to have been exactly fulfilled; "that he 
should die by a fall from his horse in the service of his country." 
He certainly did die by a fall from his horse ; and, if he had been 
that day in the administration of his office of justice of peace, he may 
with propriety be said to have died by a fall from his horse in the 
service of his country. It is not doubted, but that many curious 
readers of the Gentleman's Magazine, as well as the writer of this, 
would be much obliged to any person who could give authentic in- 
formation on this subject. [See Note 31.] J. P. 

Prophecy on the Death of Richard III. 

[1819, Part II., pp. 483-484.] 

The following is a curious old prophecy concerning the death of 
Richard III., extracted from a 4to. pamphlet, entitled " Seven several 
strange Prophecies, London, 1643." [See Note 32.] T. D. F. 

"In the reign of King Richard III., his Majesty with his army lay 
at Leicester the night before the Battle at Bosworth Field was fought. 
It happened in the morning, as the King rode through the South gate, 
a poor old blind man (by profession a wheelwright) sat begging, and 

VOL. IV. 12 

178 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

hearing of his approach, said, that if the moon changed twice that day, 
having by her ordinary course changed in the morning, King Richard 
should lose his crown, and be slain ; and riding over the bridge, his 
left foot struck against a stump of wood, which the old man hearing, 
said, ' Even so shall his head, at his return back, hit on the same 
place ;' which so came to pass : and a nobleman, that carried the 
moon in his colours, revolted from King Richard, whereby he lost 
that day, his life, crown, and kingdom, which verified the presages of 
the poor old blind man." 


[1820, Part II., pp. 25-26.] 

For the entertainment of the curious, and the observation of your 
more serious readers, I send you a copy of a card, now in circu- 
lation from some modern sibyl, who has taken this public way of 
proclaiming her profound knowledge in the Divine Art of Foretelling 
Future Events, and the cheap method by which information of so 
much consequence may be obtained. 

" Mrs. S. W. respectfully begs leave to inform the Nobility and 
Gentry, that she practises the Art of DISCOVERING FUTURE EVENTS 
incidental to either Sex, in a friendly way. Letters, post paid, at- 
tended to. Hours from 10 in the morning till 9 at night. ( We omit 
the Residence.} Fine Powder sold." 

Prediction of Death. 

[1801, Part II., pp. 1094-1095.] 

Allow me to tell you a well-attested story of as extraordinary a pre- 
diction, more than once related to me and others by my ingenious 
and lamented friend and fellow-collegian, John Cowper, brother of 
the lately deceased admirable but eccentric poet, William C. In the 
early part of his life, before he saw Cambridge, many circumstances 
of his own and family history were related to him by a woman, who 
appeared no other than a common fortune-teller, who added, that at 
or about the next time he saw her his death would not be very dis- 
tant. The place where he first met with her is not now recollected, 
whether near his father's house in Hertfordshire, or elsewhere ; but 
the last time he saw her was on the walks behind St. John's College 
garden, about the year 1770, soon after which he sickened and died. 
Such is this plain unvarnished tale, left to yourself and readers as of 
undoubted authenticity. 

Illness Cured by a Dream. 

[1751, /. 186.] 

At Glastonbury, Somersetshire, a man thirty years afflicted with an 
asthma, dreamed that he saw near the Chain Gate, in the horse track, 
the clearest of water, and that a person told him if he drank a glass 

Dream Fatally Realised. 1 79 

of water fasting seven Sunday mornings he should be cured, which 
proved true, and he attested it on oath ; many since have received 
great benefit from it. 

Dream Fatally Realized. 
[1796, Part l.,p. 456.] 

I do not mean to impress upon your readers a superstitious belief 
in the accomplishment of dreams. However, give me leave to pre- 
sent you with the following very extraordinary instance. 

A poor chimney-sweeper in the neighbourhood of Swindon, Wilts, 
lately dreamed that he should lose one of his children by water. 
This dream he communicated to his wife ; and, with an earnest soli- 
citude, entreated her stricter care and watchfulness over their family. 
The mother accordingly complied with his desires , and, when her 
daily labour called her to the field, did not in her prudence forget to 
leave her children closely confined at home. It happened, shortly 
after, a neighbouring woman, having occasion to borrow some common 
utensil, came to the house ; and, knowing the place where the key 
was usually secreted, gained admittance, and, after satisfying her 
wants, departed. During this visit, the eldest son, a child of six or 
seven years old, watched the opportunity of slipping out unperceived; 
and, too fatally straying to a horse-pool at no great distance, acciden- 
tally fell in, and was drowned. 

The shock was too great for parental feelings. From the strong 
impression of his dream, and from the melancholy accomplishment 
of it, the father quickly after was seized with a delirious fever, which 
in a few days put an end to his life. 

The truth of this fact may be fully confirmed by the inhabitants of 
East-Cott, the village in which he lived, as well as by the clergyman 
to whose sad office it fell to read the last solemn service over the 
remains of both father and son. G. 

Revelation by Dream. 

[1761, />. 535-1 

A young farmer being in company at a public-house in Petty France, 
Gloucestershire, on the yth past, and going out, was missed by his 
companions, who thought he had given them the slip, and was gone 
home ; but next morning inquiry was made after him by his father, 
who searched the country round for him in vain. Some time after, 
a relation of his having dreamt that he was drowned in a well, the 
well of the public-house where he was missing was this day searched, 
and his body was found. 

12 2 

180 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

Example of a Singular Dream and Corresponding 


[1787, Fart II., pp. 1064-1066.] 

[The first part of this paper is not reprinted.] 

Amongst the various histories of singular dreams and corresponding 
events, we have lately heard of one, which seems to merit being 
rescued from oblivion. Its authenticity will appear from the relation; 
and we may surely pronounce, that a more extraordinary concurrence 
of fortuitous and accidental circumstances can scarcely be produced, 
or paralleled. 

One Adam Rogers, a creditable and decent person, a man of good 
sense and repute, who kept a public-house at Portlaw, a small hamlet, 
nine or ten miles from Waterford, in the kingdom of Ireland, dreamed 
one night that he saw two men at a particular green spot on the ad- 
joining mountain, one of them a small sickly-looking man, the other 
remarkably strong and large. He then saw the little man murder the 
other, and he awoke in great agitation. The circumstances of the 
dream were so distinct and forcible, that he continued much affected 
by them. He related them to his wife, and also to several neighbours, 
next morning. In some time he went out cours;ng with greyhounds, 
accompanied, amongst others, by one Mr. Browne, the Roman 
Catholic priest of the parish. He soon stopped at the above-men- 
tioned particular green spot on the mountain, and, calling to Mr. 
Browne, pointed it out to him, and told him what had appeared in 
his dream. During the remainder of the day he thought little more 
about it. Next morning he was extremely startled at seeing two 
strangers enter his house, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon. He 
immediately ran into an inner room, and desired his wife to take 
particular notice, for they were precisely the two men that he had 
seen in his dieam. When they had consulted with one another, 
their apprehensions were alarmed for the little weakly man, though 
contrary to the appearance in the dream. After the strangers had 
taken some refreshment, and were about to depart, in order to pro- 
secute their journey, Rogers earnestly endeavoured to dissuade the 
little man from quitting his house, and going on with his fellow- 
traveller. He assured him, that if he would remain with him that 
day, he would accompany him to Carrick the next morning, that 
being the town to which the travellers were proceeding. He was un- 
willing and ashamed to tell the cause of his being so solicitous to 
separate him from his companion. But, as he observed that Hickey, 
which was the name of the little man, seemed to be quiet and gentle 
in his deportment, and had money about him, and that the other had 
a ferocious bad countenance, the dream still recurred to him. He 
dreaded that something fatal would happen ; and he wished, at all 
events, to keep them asunder. However, the humane precautions 

Singular Dream and Corresponding Event. 181 

of Rogers proved ineffectual; for Caulfield, such was the other's 
name, prevailed upon Hickey to continue with him on their way to 
Carrick, declaring that, as they had long travelled together, they 
should not part, but remain together until he should see Hickey 
safely arrive at the habitation of his friends. The wife of Rogers was 
much dissatisfied when she found they were gone, and blamed her 
husband exceedingly for not being absolutely peremptory in detaining 

About an hour after they left Portlavv, in a lonely part of the moun 
tain, just near the place observed by Rogers in his dream, Caulfield 
took the opportunity of murdering his companion. It appeared after- 
wards, from his own account of the horrid transaction, that, as they 
were getting over a ditch, he struck Hickey on the back part of his 
head with a stone ; and, when he fell down into the trench, in conse- 
quence of the blow, Caulfield gave him several stabs with a knife, and 
cut his throat so deeply that the head was observed to be almost 
severed from the body. He then rifled Hickey 's pockets of all the 
money in them, took part of his clothes, and everything else of value 
about him, and afterwards proceeded on his way to Carrick. He had 
not been long gone when the body, still warm, was discovered by 
some labourers who were returning to their work from dinner. 

The report of the murder soon reached to Portlaw. Rogers and 
his wife went to the place, and instantly knew the body of him whom 
they had in vain endeavoured to dissuade from going on with his 
treacherous companion. They at once spoke out their suspicions 
that the murder was perpetrated by the fellow-traveller of the deceased. 
An immediate search was made, and Caulfield was apprehended at 
Waterford the second day after. He was brought to trial at the en- 
suing assizes, and convicted of the fact. It appeared on the trial, 
amongst other circumstances, that when he arrived at Carrick, he 
hired a horse, and a boy to conduct him, not by the usual road, but 
by that which runs on the North side of the river Suir, to Waterford, 
intending to take his passage in the first ship from thence to New- 
foundland. The boy took notice of some blood on his shirt, and 
Caulfield gave him half a crown to promise not to speak of it. 
Rogers proved, not only that Hickey was seen last in company with 
Caulfield, but that a pair of new shoes which Hickey wore had been 
found on the feet of Caulfield when he was apprehended ; and that 
a pair of old shoes which he had on at Rogers's house were upon 
Hickey's feet when the body was found. He described with great 
exactness every article of their clothes. Caulfield, on the cross- 
examination, shrewdly asked him from the dock, Whether it was not 
very extraordinary that he, who kept a public-house, should take such 
particular notice of the dress of a stranger, accidentally calling there ? 
Rogers, in his answer, said, he had a very particular reason, but was 
ashamed to mention it The court and prisoner insisting on his de- 

Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stones. 

claring it, he gave a circumstantial narrative of his dream, called upon 
Mr. Browne the priest, then in the court, to corroborate his testimony, 
and said, that his wife had severely reproached him for permitting 
Hickey to leave their house, when he knew that, in the x short footway 
to Carrick, they must necessarily pass by the green spot in the moun- 
tain which had appeared in his dream. A number of witnesses came 
forward ; and the proofs were so strong, that the jury, without hesita- 
tion, found the pannell guilty. It was remarked, as a singularity, 
that he happened to be tried and sentenced by his namesake, Sir 
George Caulfield, at that time Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, 
which office he resigned in the summer of the year 1760. After sen- 
tence, Caulfield confessed the fact. A. LL. 

[1787, Part //., p. 1167.] 

I perfectly agree with your correspondent A. LL. on the extreme 
danger of the popular belief in dreams ; but the story represented by 
him in December Mag., p. 1064, brings fresh to my memory the fol- 
lowing remarkable dream, related to me as a matter of fact by a native 
of the Island of Alderney. Some few years before the erection of 
those well-known light-houses, called the Caskets, near that island, an 
islander dreamed that a ship had been wrecked near those rocks, and 
that some part of the crew had saved themselves upon them. This 
story he related the next morning on the quay ; but the sailors, al- 
though the most superstitious people living, treated it as an idle dream. 
Yet the next night produced the same dream, and the man would no 
longer be laughed out of it ; and he prevailed on a companion the 
next morning to take a boat and go to the rock, where they found 
three poor wretches half-starved with cold and hunger, and brought 
them safe on shore. This circumstance, and the supposed loss of the 
Victory on this rock, the islanders give as a reason for the erecting of 
three light-houses there. 

And how far the following may be a proof that there is existing 
within us a principle independent of the material frame, I must leave 
you and others to judge : A very particular friend of mine, on whose 
veracity I can depend, dreamed that, being in Westminster Abbey, 
he saw one of the monuments falling ; to prevent it from coming to 
the ground, he put his shoulder under, and supported the whole 
weight till assistance came to his relief. On his awaking, he found a 
violent pain in his shoulder and arm, so that he was incapable of 
putting on his clothes without help. His not recovering the entire 
use of it induced him to apply for advice, and he was recommended 
to go to Bath ; to which place he went ; when, after bathing for five 
or six weeks, he recovered the use of it. However laughable this 
account may be to many, it is an absolute fact. A. T. 

Ghosts. 183 


[1801, Part I., pp. 402-404.] 

[Only portions of this letter are printed.] 

The following reflections on apparitions, ghosts, and supernatural 
admonitions, arose from the reading of Mr. WraxalPs relation of an 
extraordinary scene which passed at Dresden some years ago (Letter 
8, vol. L). If this essay suits your Miscellany, it is at your service ; 
perhaps it may not be unseasonable, when the present German taste 
in novels is considered. 

Generally speaking, Ghosts may be resolved either into gross im- 
posture, into pious fraud, or into mere strength of imagination. To the 
first of these causes we may safely impute the necromancy at Dresden 
(related by Wraxall). It was a whimsical spirit which stayed long 
with the company which it scared. Yet no one dared to approach it ; 
so that that proof of imposture which would have been gained by 
touch was wanting. And similar impositions will always escape detec- 
tion if the persons to be duped can be stupefied by terror. 

To pious fraud may well be ascribed the ghost of Buckingham's 
father, the story of which is found in Lord Clarendon's history. This 
was a respectable apparition, both as to manner and motive ; and 
probably was an artifice employed by the Duke's mother in the hope 
of reforming and saving him. 

The strength of imagination is a cause equal to the production of 
very wonderful effects. At the Council of Trente the Legate Crescen- 
do, having long laboured at his despatches, rose from his chair, and 
thought he saw a huge ugly clog advance and run under the table. 
In haste he called for his servants, but no dog could be found The 
Legate took his bed and died of the fright. [Jurieu, Hist. Cone. 

Lord Herbert of Cherbury is an eminent example of the illusive 
power of imagination. He had written a book, and doubting whether 
he ought to publish, he solemnly asked Divine direction to be given 
by some manifest sign. Immediately a loud yet gentle noise like 
nothing on earth was heard ; this he considered as heavenly appro- 
bation, and he published his work. 

Morhof relates a wonderful story of a gentleman, who, waking sud- 
denly, felt an invisible impulse to pronounce distinctly certain words 
which he did not understand. This he thought so odd that he wrote 
them down, and next day consulted a learned friend about their pro- 
bable meaning. He perceived that it was Greek, and its literal 
translation, "Not about to avoid the misfortune which is within." 
No mischief seemed impending; however, the friend advised a change 
of lodging. In a few days, the house so quitted fell, and crushed its 
inhabitants. [Morhof, Polyhist, i. 19, p. 217.] 

Very different is any admonition made by the Supreme Being : His 

184 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Storm. 

work bears the impress of the Workman, it is free from all obscurity. 
Such was the vision which converted Col. Gardiner. This officer, a 
man of gallantry, had an assignation at midnight with a married 
woman ; the company in which he had supped broke up at eleven, 
and Mr. Gardiner took up a book to beguile the tedious hour. As 
he read, an unusual blaze of light seemed to fall on his book, which 
he supposed to arise from some accident in the candle ; but, on lifting 
up his eyes, he beheld suspended in the air Jesus Christ upon the 
Cross, and words to this effect, " Sinner, did I suffer this for thee, and 
are these the returns ?" were uttered, or impressed on his mind as if 
uttered. [Doddridge's Life of Col. Gardiner.] 

The effects of this astonishing scene were such as it was fitted to 
produce ; regret, compunction, dismay, followed by repentance and a 
thorough change of life. MONACO. 

Apparition at Tewing, Hertfordshire. 

[1783, Part If., p. 463.] 

Dr. Yarborough, Rector of Tewing, Hertfordshire, who had a long 
and intimate acquaintance with the late General Sabine, Governor of 
Gibraltar, whose country seat was at Tewing, told me this story, 
which he had from the General's own mouth, who was a person of 
great honour and veracity, and much good sense. 

That when he once lay dangerously ill of his wounds after a battle 
abroad, and began to recover, as he lay awake one night in his bed, 
having a candle in his chamber, he saw on the sudden the curtains 
drawn back at his bed's feet, and his wife, then in England (a lady 
whom he greatly loved), presenting herself to his full view, at the 
opening of the curtains, and then disappearing. He was amazed at 
the sight, and fell into deep reflections upon this extraordinary ap- 
parition. In a short time after he received the melancholy news from 
England that his beloved consort was dead, and that she died at such 
a time ; which, as near as he could possibly recollect, was the very 
time on which he had seen that strange phenomenon. 

This he immediately entered down in his note-book, continuing 
ever afterwards fu'ly persuaded of the certainty of some apparitions, 
notwithstanding the general prejudice to the contrary; "which," said 
he often, " I can, from my own knowledge in this instance, confidently 
oppose upon the strongest grounds." 

This is the story, and I here set it down as I heard it from the 
above-mentioned worthy doctor, without making any remarks. 

See some other instances of this kind in the late Mr. Aubrey's 
" Miscellaneous Collections," etc., where (in my own printed book) I 
have entered down several references, etc., of the same kind : but 
determine nothing at present. [See Note 33.] J. J. 

Apparition at Cambridge. 185 

Apparition at Cambridge. 

[I778,//. 583, 584.] 

Letter. Rev. Mr. Hughes to the Rev. Mr. Bonwicke. 

DEAR SIR, Jesus College, Jan. 9, 1706-7. 

[After relating college news, the letter proceeds] These are 
all the scraps that I could pick up to entertain you withal ; and, 
indeed, I should have been obliged to have ended with half a letter, 
had not an unusual story come seasonably into my relief. 

One Mr. Shaw, formerly Fellow of St. John's College, and late 
Minister of a college living,* within twelve miles of Oxford, as he was 
sitting one night by himself, smoking a pipe, and reading, observed 
somebody to open the door : he turned back, and saw one Mr. Nailor, 
a fellow-collegian, an intimate friend, and who had been dead five 
years, come into the room. The gentleman came in exactly in the 
same dress and manner that he used at college. Mr. Shaw was some- 
thing surprised at first ; but in a little time recollecting himself, he 
desired him to sit down : upon which Mr. N. drew a chair, and sat 
by him ; they had a conference of about an hour and a half. The 
chief of the particulars were these : he told him, " that he was sent to 
give him warning of his death, which would be in a very short time ;" 
and, if I mistake not, he added, that his death would be sudden. He 
mentioned, likewise, several others of St. John's, particularly the 
famous Auchard, who is since dead. Mr. S. asked if he could not 
give him another visit: he answered no, alleging, "that his time 
allotted was but three days, and that he had others to see, who were 
at a great distance." Mr. Shaw had a great desire to inquire about 
his present condition, but was afraid to mention it, not knowing how 
it would be taken. At last he expressed himself in this manner : 
"Mr. N., how is it with you in the other world?" He answered, 
with a brisk and cheerful countenance, "Very well." Mr. Sh. 
proceeded, and asked, " Is there any of our old friends with you ?" 
He replied, "Not one." After their discourse was over, he took his 
leave, and went out. Mr. Shaw offered to go with [him] out of the 
room ; but he beckoned with his hand that he should stay where he 
was. Mr. Nailor seemed to turn into the next room, and so went 
off. This Mr. Shaw the next day made his will, the conference had 
so far affected him ; and not long after, being taken with an apoplectic 
fit while he was reading the divine service, he fell out of the desk, 
and died immediately after. He was ever looked upon to be a pious 
man, and a good scholar ; only some object, that he was inclinable to 
melancholy. He told this story himself to Mr. Groves, a Fellow of 
St. John's, and a particular friend of his, and who lay at his house 
last summer. 

* Souldern. 

1 86 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

Mr. G., upon his return to Cambridge, met with one of his college 
who told him that Mr. Auchard was dead, who was particularly 
mentioned by Mr. Shaw. He kept the business secret, till, hearing 
of Mr Shaw's own death, he told the whole story. He is a person 
far enough from inventing such a story ; and he tells it in all com- 
panies without any manner of variation. We are mightily divided 
about it at Cambridge, some heartily embracing it, and others reject- 
ing it as a ridiculous story, and the effect of spleen and melancholy. 
For my own part, I must acknowledge myself one of those who believe 
it, having not met with anything yet sufficient to invalidate it. As to 
the little sceptical objections that are generally used upon this occa- 
sion, they seem to be very weak in themselves, and will prove of 
dangerous consequences, if applied to matters of a more important 
nature. I am, dear sir, yours, most sincerely, 

[i 778, /. 621.] 

[Part of a] Letter. Mr. Turner to Mr. Bonwicke. 

SIR, Cambridge, Jan. 21, 1706-7. 

There's a circumstance relating to the story of the apparition, 
which adds a great confirmation to it ; which I suppose Mr. Hughes 
did not tell you. There's one Mr. Cartwright,* a Member of Par- 
liament^ a man of good credit and integrity, an intimate friend of 
Mr. Shaw's, who told the same story with Ur. Grove (which he had 
from Mr. Shaw) at the Archbishop ot Canterbury's table : but he says 
further, that Mr. Shaw told him of some great revolutions in State, 
which he won't discover, being either obliged to silence by Mr. Shaw, 
or concealing them upon some prudent and politic reasons. 


[1783, Part I., pp. 412, 413.] 

In your Magazine for Dec., 1778, p. 583, and in the Supplement to 
that year, p. 621, you published six original letters between the Rev. 
J. Hughes, of Jesus College in Cambridge, the learned editor of " St. 
Chrysostom on the Priesthood," and some of his friends. In these 
letters was a relation of the apparition of Mr. Naylor, who had been 
Fellow of St. John's in that University, to a fellow collegian, Mr. 
Shaw, then Rector of Souldern in Oxfordshire. I have since met 
with another account of the same story, written by the Rev. Richard 
Chambre, who was then a member of Sidney College, and afterwards 
Vicar of Loppington in Shropshire, where he died Feb., 1752, aged 70. 
The paper containing this account was put into my hands by his 
executor, who has assured me that it is his hand-writing. It has no 
date, but bears visible marks of its age ; and, by the beginning of it, 
is plainly to be referred to the date of the letters above mentioned, 
that is, the year 1707. Your readers will judge as they please of the 

* Of Aynho. + For Northamptonshire. 

Apparition at Cambridge. 187 

truth of the story. My business is only to transcribe the paper con- 
taining it ; which, except in a few instances of spelling, I send you 
faithfully and exactly done, with its superscription. Yours, etc. 

R. M. 

Another account of the apparition of Mr. Naylor to Mr. Shaw, from 
a MS. of the Rev. Richard Chambre. 

(This account I had in these very words from the Rev. Dr. Whit- 
field, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.) 

About the end of last summer Mr. Grove, the public register of the 
University, was in the country at a small town near Banbury in 
Oxfordshire, with his old friend Mr. Shaw, lately Fellow of St. John's, 
and who was presented by the college to the living where he resided. 
While Mr. Grove tarried with him, which was about four or five days, 
he told him this remarkable story, viz., that some days before, as he 
was sitting in his study late one night, after eleven, and while he was 
smoking tobacco and reading, the spectre of his old companion Mr. 
Naylor (who died five years ago in St. John's College) came into the 
room, habited in a gown and cassock, and exactly in the same manner 
as he used to appear in the college when alive. Mr. Shaw remem- 
bered the figure well, and was therefore much surprised ; but the 
spectre took a chair, and sitting down close by him, bid him not be 
afraid, for he came to acquaint him with something that nearly con- 
cerned him. So entering into discourse together, the spectre told 
him, that " their friend Mr. Orchard * was to die very suddenly, and 
that he himself should die soon after him, and therefore he came to 
forewarn him, that he might prepare himself accordingly." After this 
they talked of many other things (for their conference lasted two 
hours), and amongst the rest Mr. Shaw asked him, Whether one 
might form some sort of a notion of the other world from anything 
one saw in this ? He answered, No ; without giving any farther 
satisfaction to the question. Upon this, Mr. Shaw said to him, How 
is it with you ? His answer was, I am very well and happy. Where- 
upon Mr. Shaw asked him farther, Whether any of his old acquaint- 
ance were with him ? His answer was, that there was not one of 
them : which answer, Mr. Shaw said (as told the story by Mr. Grove f), 
struck him to the heart. At last, after two hours' conference together, 
the spectre took his leave ; and Mr. Shaw desiring him to stay longer, 
he told him he could not, for he had only three days allotted him to 
be absent, and they were almost expired. Mr. Shaw then desired 
that he might see him at least once more before his death. But he 
told him it could not be, and so left him. After this he walked 
about his room a considerable time, musing upon what had happened. 

Mr. Grove is a person of undoubted credit who tells this story : and 

* Spelt Auchard by Mr. Hughes. t So the MS. 

1 88 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

(which is the greatest confirmation of it that can be desired, is that) 
he told it * several times here in college before Mr. Shaw died ; who 
fell down dead in his desk as he was reading prayers. The other 
gentleman, Mr. Orchard, who was mentioned, died suddenly in his 
chair, while his bedmaker went from him to fetch his commons for 
supper. This story is farther confirmed by two country gentlemen t 
of Mr. Shaw's acquaintance, to whom he had likewise communicated 
it. And in truth it hath met with such universal credit here,J that I 
have met with very few who made any scruple of believing it. 

It is remarkable that Mr. Shaw was a noted enemy to the belief of 
apparitions, and used always in company to dispute against them. 

[1801, Part II., pp. 995, 996.] 

I was induced, for the amusement at least, if I must not add the 
information of your readers, to transcribe the following correspondence 
from a MS. in my possession. The story therein related, from the 
characters of the persons on whose authority it rests, as well as the 
unaffected manner in which it is told, may not be undeserving of 

" Copy of a Letter from Thos. Offley ; directed to the Rev. Mr. 
Offley, Rector of Middleton Stony, near Bister, in Oxfordshire. 

"DEAR BROTHER, "Milton, Dec. 18, 1706. 

" I here send you a very surprising narrative relating to Mr. 
Shaw, your late neighbour. The person I had the following letter 
from is one Mr. Waller, a fellow of St. John's, there resident now ; 
and Mr. Grove, mentioned below, is register to the University, and 
fellow of the same college. I had heard something of an apparition, 
and wrote to Mr. Waller for a relation of the fact ; to which he re- 
turned me this answer : 

2." Mr. Waller to Mr. Tho. Offley. 
"DEAR SIR, "St. John, Dec. 12, 1706. 

" I should scarce have mentioned anything of the matter you 
now write about of my own accord : but, since you have given your- 
self the trouble of inquiry, I am, I think, obliged in friendship to 
relate all that I can tell of the matter ; and that I do the more will- 
ingly because I can so soon produce my authority. The man to 

* Here Mr. Chambre seems to differ from Mr. Hughes, who says, "Mr. Grove 
kept the business secret, till, hearing of Mr. Shaw's own death, he told the whole 
story." Unless Mr. Hughes means, that Mr. Grove suppressed the part of the 
story relating to Mr. Shaw's death ; till hearing he was dead, he then told the 
whole of it. 

f Possibly one of them was Mr. Cartwright of Aynho. See Mag. for 1778, p. 621. 
[Ante, p. 186.] 

J Mr. Hughes declared himself one of those who believed it. Ib. p. 584. 


Apparition at Cambridge. 189 

whom the apparition appeared was one Mr. Shaw, who had one of 
the college livings in Oxfordshire nigh your brother. This gentleman, 
Mr. Grove, fellow of the college, called on last July in his journey to 
the West of England, where he stayed a day or two and promised 
again to call on him in his return ; which accordingly he did, and 
stayed three days with Mr. Shaw. In that time, one night after 
supper, Mr. Shaw told him that there happened a passage which he 
could not conceal from him, as being an intimate friend, and as 
one to whom the transaction might have some more relation than to 
another man. He proceeded, therefore, and told him that about a 
week before that time (which was July 28), as he was smoking and 
reading in his study about eleven or twelve o'clock at night, there 
came to him the apparition of Mr. Naylor, in the same garb as he 
used to be, with his arms clasped before him. (This was formerly a 
fellow of St. John's, and a friend of Mr. Shaw's, dead about two or 
three years ago.) Mr. Shaw, not being wonderfully surprised, asked 
him how he did ? and desired him to sit down ; which Mr. Naylor 
did. They both sat there a considerable time, and entertained each 
other with various discourse. After that, Mr. Shaw asked him after 
what manner they did in a separate estate ? He answered, ' Far dif- 
ferent from what they did here, but that he was very well.' He 
inquired farther, whether there were any of their old acquaintance in 
that place where he was ? He answered, ' No, not one.' He farther 
proceeded, and told him that ' one of their old friends (naming Mr. 
Orchard) should die very quickly ; and that he himself (Mr. Shaw) 
should not be long after.' He mentioned several other people's 
names ; but whose they are, or upon what occasion, Mr. Grove can- 
not or does not declare. Mr. Shaw then asked him whether he would 
visit him again before that time. He said, 'No, he could not, for he 
had but three days allotted him, and farther he could not go.' Mr. 
Shaw then said, ''Fiat Domini volitntas,' and the apparition left him. 
This is word for word what Mr. Shaw told Mr. Grove, and Mr. Grove 
told me. Now, what surprised Mr. Grove was, that as he had in his 
journey home occasion to ride through Caxton, he called on one Mr. 
Clark, fellow of the college and curate there; where, inquiring of 
college news, Mr. Clark told him that Arthur Orchard died that week, 
on August 6 ; which very much shocked Mr. Grove, and brought to 
mind the story, which Mr. Shaw told him afresh. And, about three 
weeks ago, Mr. Shaw himself died of an apoplectic fit in the desk, 
the very same distemper as poor Arthur Orchard. Now, since this 
strange completion of the matter, Grove has told this relation, and 
stands to the truth of it ; and that which confirms the thing itself and 
his veracity is, that he told the same to Dr. Balderston, the present 
vice-chancellor, about a week before Mr. Shaw's death ; and when 
the news came to college he was no way surprised, as other people 
were. And as for Mr. Shaw's part, it is the opinion of men that can- 

190 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

not digest the matter that it was only a dream ; but Mr. Shaw seemed 
to be very well satisfied of his waking then as at another time. And 
suppose it were so, the fulfilling of the things predicted is a valid 
proof of its being a true vision, let it be represented which way so- 
ever. And again, considering them both as men of learning and 
integrity, the one would not have first declared, nor the other spread 
the same, was not the matter itself serious and real. This is all that 
is told of the matter. The rest I leave to your descant. 


" This is the letter I received, and methinks the story is wonderful, 
and will bear a great deal of reasoning about. Now, what I would 
desire of you is, that you would, as far as you can, learn the date of 
Mr. Shaw's will ; if he revealed this vision to anyone about you ; if 
he left any account of it in writing ; if he was observed by anyone to 
be melancholy before he died ; or gave any sign of his expectation 
of his death so soon. To these queries, with whatever else you have 
relating to the matter (which is now very public, and much talked of 
in the University and this country), if you will, as speedily as you can, 
return me proper answers, I shall be greatly obliged to you, who am, 
dear brother, yours affectionately, 


Apparition at Oxford. 

[1783, Part IJ.,p. 848.] 

You have inserted a remarkable story in your Magazine for May last, 
p. 412 [ante, p. 186]; I here inclose you another narrative of that kind, 
which undoubtedly comes as well authenticated as the testimony of an 
individual can render it. This memorandum was lately found among 
the papers of the Rev. Mr. Mores, late of Layton in Essex, formerly 
of Queen's College, Oxford (a gentleman of unquestionable veracity, 
and highly respected for his learning and abilities, who died in the 
year 1778). It fell into the hands of his son, Edward Rowe Mores, 
Esq., who has authorised me to lay it before the public, by means of 
your Magazine. The MS. shall remain with you for some time, for 
the inspection of any gentleman who may wish to have the fullest 
conviction of the authenticity of so interesting a relation. The hand- 
writing* I believe you can testify, as you were well acquainted with the 

Yours, etc., J. PAYNE. 

" Mr. John Bonnell was a Commoner of Queen's College ; he was 
remarkable in his person and his gait, and had a particular manner of 
holding up his gown behind, so that to anyone who had but once 
seen him he might be known by his back as easily as by his face. 

* It is certainly Mr. Mores's. EDIT. 

Apparition at Oxford. 191 

"On Sunday, Nov. 18, 1750, at noon, Mr. Ballard, who was then 
of Magd. Coll. and myself, were talking together at Parker's door. 
I was then waiting for the sound of the trumpet, and suddenly Mr. 
Ballard cried out, ' Lord, have mercy upon me, who is that coming out 
of your college?' I looked, and saw, as I supposed, Mr. Bonnell, 
and replied, 'He is a gentleman of our house, and his name is Bonnell; 
he comes from Stanton-Harcourt.' 'My God!' said Mr. Ballard,'! never 
saw such a face in all my life.' I answered slightly, 'His face is much 
the same as it always is ; I think it is a little more inflamed and 
swelled than it is sometimes : perhaps he has buckled his band too 
tight ; but I should not have observed it if you had not spoken.' 
' Well,' said Mr. Ballard again, ' I never shall forget him as long as I 
live;' and seemed to be much disconcerted and frightened. 

" This figure I saw without any emotion or suspicion ; it came down 
the quadrangle, came out at the gate, and walked up the High Street ; 
we followed it with our eyes till it came to Cat Street, where it was 
lost. The trumpet then sounded, and Mr. Ballard and I parted, and 
I went into the hall, and thought no more of Mr. Bonnell. 

" In the evening the prayers of the chapel were desired for one who 
was in a very sick and dangerous condition. When I came out of 
the chapel, I inquired of one of the scholars, James Harrison, in the 
hearing of several others who were standing before the kitchen fire, 
who it was that was prayed for ? and was answered, ' Mr. Bonnell, sen.' 
'Bonnell, sen.,' said I, with astonishment, 'what's the matter with him ? 
He was very well to-day, for I saw him go out to dinner.' 'You are 
very much mistaken,' answered the scholar, 'for he has not been out of 
his bed for some days.' I then asserted more positively that I had 
seen him, and that a gentleman was with me who saw him too. 

" This came presently to the ears of Dr. Fothergill, who had been 
my tutor. After supper he took me aside, and questioned me about 
it, and said, he was very sorry I had mentioned the matter so publicly, 
for Mr. B. was dangerously ill. I replied, I was very sorry too, but I 
had done it innocently ; and the next day Mr. B. died. 

" Inquiry was made of Mr. Ballard afterwards, who related the part 
which he was witness to in the same manner as I have now related it; 
adding, that I told him the gentleman was one Mr. Bonnell, and that 
he came from Stanton-Harcourt. " E. R. M." 

Apparitions Foretelling Death. 

[i 779- /A 295-298-] 

Meeting with the following anecdote among some old manuscripts, 
it is much at the service of you and your readers. 

A Memorandum , taken the \-]th of September, 1719, by Mr.J. B. 
Having heard a report of the appearance of an apparition a little 

1 92 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

before Dr. Harris's* death, I went on Monday, the I4th of this in- 
stant, to see my cousin, Anne G., who had been at Mr. Godfrey's, at 
Norton Court, in Kent, some time before, and was there when the 
Doctor died at his house, and from her I had the following account. 

On Monday evening, the 3151 of August last, Mr. Godfrey sent out 
his coachman and gardener to catch some rabbits. After their sport 
was over, as they were coming home with their nets and what they 
had taken, and were now not above a field's length from the house, 
the dogs, who had been running about, came suddenly to them, 
creeping between their legs, as if it were to hide themselves. The 
fellows immediately took to their heels as fast as they could, not stay- 
ing till they came within the gate, where they stopped, and accosted 
one another after the following fashion. 

A. " Are not you prodigiously frightened ?" 

13. " I was never so frightened in all my life !" 

A. " What was it you saw?" 

B. " Nay, what was it that frightened you so ?' 

A. " I saw a coffin carried, just by us, on men's shoulders !" 

B. " I saw the same, as plain as I ever saw anything in my life." 
My cousin G. and Mrs. Betty H. were gone to bed together : Dr. 

Harris was in bed, and Mr. Godfrey in his chamber just going to 
bed. A maid-servant, who had heard the two men speak of this in 
the kitchen, ran up directly and told Mr. Godfrey. He laughed at 
it ; and, desirous to let others partake with him in his mirth, goes 
into my cousin's chamber, and, calling to them, tells them " his men 
had seen the devil to-night !" She made answer that " she desired 
him not to tell them of it then, nor come into their room to disturb 
them at so unseasonable an hour, when they were just going to sleep ; 
that such a story would, however, serve well enough to divert Dr. 
Harris" who, by the way, had often expressed a disbelief of such 
things. Mr. Godfrey went immediately to the Doctor's chamber, 
and, waking him out of a sound sleep, told him what had passed. 
The Doctor laughed very heartily at it, but was vexed Mr. G. had 
waked him. The next day the discourse of it served for the enter- 
tainment of the family, the Doctor saying, "it was only a tale of the 
men's devising in order to frighten the maids, but that in reality they 
saw nothing." Others thought that, by the strength of imagination, 
they might take a black horse or a black cow for a corpse on men's 
shoulders. Their fellow servants, however, declared that " when 
they came in, they both looked as if they had been frightened out of 
their wits." At the eating of the rabbits, the subject was resumed, 
and the Doctor in particular said that, " if the devil had a hand in 
catching them, he was sure they were good," and ate very heartily. 

* Prebendary of Rochester, and author of "A History of Kent," of which the 
first volume was published soon after his death ; but, dying insolvent, his papers 
which he had been eight years in collecting) were dispersed. 

Apparitions Foretelling Death. 193 

He complained a little on Tuesday, and on Wednesday more, but 
was very unwilling to have any advice. However, an apothecary was 
sent for, and afterwards Sir William Boys of Canterbury ; from which 
time he grew very bad, the distemper lying so much in his head as 
caused him to be delirious the greatest part of the time he lived, 
which was till Monday the yth instant, eleven in the forenoon. 

My cousin A. G. told me at the same time another remarkable 

It had, it seems, frequently been the practice with one or other of 
them to tell their dreams in the morning over the tea-table. It hap- 
pened, either on Tuesday or Wednesday, that somebody began that 
subject, whereupon the Doctor said he thought they were always 
recounting their dreams and talking of apparitions, and that he would 
make a collection of them and have them published ; " for my part," 
added he, " if I ever took notice of a dream, it should be of one I 
had last night. I dreamed that the Bishop of - , in Ireland, sent 
for me to come over to him, and I returned answer that I could not 
for I was dead ; when methought I laid my hands along by my 
sides, and so died." 

The Doctor's death, and these circumstances attending it, so 
affected my cousin G., that she resolved to leave the house, and 
accordingly came away next morning.* J. B. 


Mr. Martin, in his " Bibliotheca Technologica," asserts, in his 
Discourse of Ontology, that the existence of the soul is a mere Ens 
Rationis, or Phoenix of ontologists, which brought to my mind the 
following relation. 

A certain young woman, living in Bristol, was taken ill of the 
small-pox. Her mother attended her in her illness ; her father 
was a clergyman, living more than twenty miles from the City. One 
night her sister, who was at her father's, being in bed, heard the 
voice of her mother lamenting herself upon the death of her daughter. 
This much surprised her, knowing that her mother was then as far 
as Bristol. When she arose in the morning, her father, seeing her 
look much concerned, asked her what was the matter with her? 
" Nothing," says she. Her father replied, " I am sure something is 
amiss, and I must know what it is." " Why, then, father," says she, 
" I believe my sister Molly is dead ; for this night I heard the voice 
of my mother lamenting her death." Says her father, " I heard the 
same myself, and her voice seemed to me to be in my study." Soon 

[* The following instance is then given : " Still farther to show the credulity of 
the people of that age respecting apparitions, the following observations, taken out 
of the Spinks' Journal of the Widow Booty's Trial, in the King's Bench, Westminster 
Hall, in behalf of her late husband, a brewer in London, in the year 1686, are 
seemingly better founded than the foregoing." It is not worth while printing the 
narrative, the absurdity of which is pointed out by another correspondent, C. L., at 
p. 402 of the same volume. ] 

VOL. IV. 13 

194 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

after, the same morning, came a messenger with tidings of her death. 
The deceased was brought to her father's to be buried, and, after the 
funeral, her mother, relating the manner of her daughter's illness, said 
that as soon as her daughter was dead, she being weary with watch- 
ing and tired for want of sleep, lay down in her clothes, and dreamed 
that she was with them telling her grief for the loss of her daughter. 
This surprised them ; and asking the time, it appeared to be much 
the same in which they heard her voice. The young woman was 
buried April i, 1726. Her sister who heard the voice is now living 
in Bristol, and is ready to satisfy any inquirer of the truth of this fact. 
Your humble servant, JOHN WALKER. 

[1731, pp- 3i, 32-] 

The following narrative, given by a gentleman of unexceptionable 
honour and veracity, has been lately published at Edinburgh : 

One William Sutor, aged about thirty-seven, a farmer in Middle- 
niause (belonging to the Laird of Balgown, near Craighal), being 
about the month of December, 1728, in the fields with his servants, 
near his own house, overheard at some distance, as it were, an un- 
common shrieking and noise ; and they following the voice, fancied 
they saw a dark grey-coloured dog ; but as it was a dark night, they 
concluded it was a fox, and accordingly were for setting on their dogs; 
but it was very observable that not one of them would so much as 
point his head that way. About a month after, the said Sutor being 
occasionally in the same spot, and much about the same time of 
night, it appeared to him again, and, in passing, touched him so 
smartly on the thigh, that he felt a pain all that night. In December, 
1729, it again cast up to him at about the same place, and passed 
him at some distance. In June, 1730, it appeared to him as for- 
merly ; and it was now he began to judge it was something extra- 
ordinary. On the last Monday of November, 1730, about sky-setting, 
as he was coming from Drumlochy, this officious visitor passed him 
as formerly, and in passing he distinctly heard it speak these words, 
" Within eight or ten days do or die ;" and instantly disappeared, 
leaving him not a little perplexed. Next morning he came to his 
brother James's house, and gave him a particular account of all that 
had happened. And that night, about ten o'clock, these two brothers, 
having been visiting their sister at Glanballow, and returning home, 
slept aside to see the remarkable spot, where they had no sooner 
arrived, than it appeared to William, who, pointing his finger to it, 
desired his brother and a servant, who was with them, to look to it ; 
but neither of them could see any such thing. Next Saturday even- 
ing, as William was at his sheepfold, it came up to him, and audibly 
uttered these words, " Come to the spot of ground within half an 
hour." Whereupon he went home ; and, taking a staff in his hand, 
came to the ground, being at last determined to see the issue. He 

Apparitions Foretelling Death. 195 

had scarce encircled himself with a line of circumvallation, when his 
troublesome familiar came up to him : he asked it, " In the name of 
God, who are you?" It answered, "I am David Sutor, George 
Sutor's brother ; I killed a man more than thirty-five years ago, at a 
bush by east the road as you go into the isle." He said to it, 
" David Sutor was a man, and you appear as a dog." It answered, 
" I killed him with a dog, and am made to speak out of the mouth 
of a dog, and I tell you to go bury these bones !" This coming to 
the ears of the minister of Blair, the Lairds Glascloon and Rychalzie, 
and about forty men, went together to the said isle ; but after open- 
ing ground in several places, found no bones. On the second of 
December, about midnight, when William was in bed, it came to his 
door, and said, " Come away, you will find the bones at the side of 
the withered bush, and there are but eight left ; and told him at the 
same time for a sign that he would find the print of a cross impressed 
on the ground. Next day William and his brother, with about forty 
or fifty people who had convened out of curiosity, came to the place, 
where they discovered the bush and the cross by it ; and upon dig- 
ging the ground about a foot down found the eight bones ; all which 
they immediately wrapped in clean linen, and, being put in a coffin 
with a mort-cloth over it, were interred that evening in the church- 
yard of Blair, attended by about a hundred persons. 

N.B. Several persons in that country remember to have seen this 
David Sutor ; and that he listed for a soldier, and went abroad about 
thirty-four or thirty-five years ago. 

An Account of a Remarkable Apparition. 
[1774, / 613.] 

The following very singular story comes well authenticated : 
On Saturday, June 22, 1728, John Daniel, a lad of about fourteen 
years of age, appeared, about twelve o'clock at noon, in the school of 
Beminster, between three weeks and a month after his burial. 

The school of Beminster is kept in a gallery of the parish church, 
to which there is a distant entrance from the churchyard. The key of 
it is every Saturday delivered to the clerk of the parish by some one 
or other of the schoolboys. On Saturday, June 22, the master had, 
as usual, dismissed his lads. Twelve of them tarried in the church- 
yard to play at ball. After a short space, four of them returned into 
the school to search for old pens, and in the church they heard a 
noise like the sounding of a brass pan, on which they immediately 
ran to their playfellows and told them of it ; and on their concluding 
that some one was concealed in order to frighten them, they all went 
into the school to make a discovery who it was, but on search found 
none. As they were returning to their sport, on the stairs that lead 
into the churchyard, they heard in the school a second noise, as of a 
man going in great boots. Terrified at that, they ran round the 


196 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

church, and when at the belfry or west door they heard a third noise, 
like a minister preaching, which was succeeded by another of a con- 
gregation singing psalms ; both the last continued but a short time. 
Being again at their play, in a little time one of the lads went into 
the school for his book, where he saw lying on one of the benches, 
about six feet from him, a coffin. Surprised at this, he runs to his 
playfellows and tells them what he had seen ; on which they all 
thronged to the school-door, where five of the twelve saw the appa- 
rition of John Daniel, sitting at some distance from the coffin, farther 
in the school. All of them saw the coffin ; the conjecture why all 
did not see the apparition is, because the door was so narrow they 
could not all approach it together. The first who knew it to be the 
apparition of the deceased was his half-brother, who on seeing it cried 
out, " There sits our John, with just such a coat on as I have" in the 
lifetime of the deceased they usually were clothed alike " with a pen 
in his hand, and a book before him, and a coffin by him ; I'll throw a 
stone at him." He was dissuaded from it, but did it, and doing it, 
said, " Take it," on which the apparition immediately disappeared, 
and left the church in a thick darkness for two or three minutes. 

On examination before Colonel Broadrep, all the boys, being 
between nine and twelve years of age, agreed in the relation and all 
the circumstances, even to the hinges of the coffin ; and the descrip- 
tion of the coffin agreed to that wherein the deceased was buried. 

One of the lads that saw the apparition was full twelve years old, 
and of that age a sober, sedate boy, who came to the school after the 
deceased had left it, about a fortnight before he died, ill of the stone, 
and in his lifetime had never seen him. He, on examination, gave 
an exact description of the person of the deceased, and took notice 
of one thing in the apparition which escaped the others, viz., a white 
cloth or rag which was bound round one of its hands. The woman 
who laid out the corpse in order to its interment deposed, on oath, 
that she took such a white cloth from the hand, it being put on it a 
week or four days before his death, his hand being lame. 

The body was found in the fields at some distance, about a furlong 
beyond the mother's house, in an obscure place, taken up, and buried 
without a coroner, on the mother's saying the lad in his lifetime was 
subject to fits ; but upon the apparition it was dug up, and the jury 
that sat on it brought in their verdict " Strangled." They were in- 
duced to do so on the oath of two women of good repute, who 
deposed that two days after the corpse was found they saw it, and dis- 
covered round its gullet a black list ; and likewise of the joiner who 
put it into the coffin, for the shroud not being orderly put on the 
corpse, but cut in two pieces, one laid under and the other over it, 
gave him an opportunity of observing it A chirurgeon was on the 
spot with the jury, but could not positively affirm that there was any 
dislocation of the neck. 

Instances of Maniacal Delusion Exemplified. 197 

Ghost at Kilncote. 
[1790, Part II., p. 521.] 

If an account of the very best ghost which ever made its appearance 
in England be worthy of reappearing in your Magazine, I will raise 
it It appeared for several years, but very seldom, only in the church- 
porch at Kilncote, in Leicestershire, and was discovered by a lady 
now living, and then the rector's wife. 

N.B. It was not a ghost that could appear ad libitum ; some- 
times it did not appear for four years. The lady determined to 
approach it; and the nearer she advanced, the more confident she 
was that the substance or shade of a human figure was before her. 

P. T. 

Instances of Maniacal Delusion Exemplified. 

[1816, Part I., pp. 599-602.] 


The death of the celebrated and erudite Thomas, Lord Lyttelton, 
from the singularity of the circumstances attending it, cannot fail to 
live in the memory of those who have heard it. He professed to 
have been warned of his death, and the time thereof, as follows : 
About a week before he died, he said, he went to bed pretty well, 
but restless. Soon after his servant had left him, he heard a footstep 
at the bottom of his bed. He raised himself, in order to see what it 
could be, when one of the most angelic female figures that imagina- 
tion could possibly paint presented itself before him, and with a com- 
manding voice and action* bade him attend and prepare himself, for 
on such a night, and at the hour of twelve, he would surely die ! He 
attempted to address the vision, but was unable ; and the ghost 
vanished, and left him in a state more easily conceived than could 
be described. His valet found him in the morning more dead than 
alive ; and it was some hours before his Lordship could be recovered 
sufficiently to send for his friends, to whom he thought it necessary to 
communicate this extraordinary circumstance. Mr. Miles Peter Andrews 
was one of the number sent for, being at that time one of his most 
intimate associates. Every person to whom Lord Lyttelton told the 
tale naturally turned it into ridicule, all knowing him to be very 
nervous and superstitious, and tried to make him believe it was a 
dream, as they certainly considered so themselves. Lord Lyttelton. 
filled his house with company, and appeared to think as his friends 
would wish him. Mr. M. P. Andrews had business which called him 
to Dartford, and therefore soon took his leave, thinking Lord Lyttelton 
quite composed on this subject, so that his friend's dream dwelt so 

* Buonaparte's Red Man is said to have had an " imperious and commanding 
feitf," which awed Count Mole. See vol. Ixxxv., p. I23<z. [See/w/, pp. 202-204.} 

198 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

little on his imagination, that he did not even recollect the time when 
it was predicted that the event would take place. One night after he 
left Pitt Place, the residence of Lord Lyttelton, he supposed that he 
had been in bed half an hour, when, endeavouring to compose him- 
self, suddenly his curtains were pulled open, and Lord Lyttelton 
appeared before him at his bedside, standing in his robe de chambre 
and night-cap. Mr. Andrews looked at him some time, and thought 
it so odd a freak of his friend, that he began to reproach him for his 
folly in coming down to Dartford Mills without notice, as he could 
find no accommodation. " However," said he, ''I'll get up, and see 
what can be done." He turned to the other side of the bed and 
rang the bell, when Lord Lyttelton disappeared. Mr. Andrews's ser- 
vant soon after entered, when his master inquired, " Where is Lord 
Lyttelton ?" The servant, all astonishment, declared he had not seen 
anything of his Lordship since they left Pitt Place. "Pshaw! you 
fool !" replied Mr. Andrews ; " he was here this moment at my bed- 
side." The servant persisted that it was not possible. Mr. Andrews 
dressed himself, and, with the servants, searched every part of the 
house and garden ; but no Lord was to be found. Still, Mr. Andrews 
could not help believing that Lord Lyttelton had played him this trick 
for his disbelief of the vision, till, about four o'clock the same day, 
an express arrived to inform him of Lord Lyttelton's death, and the 
manner of it, by a friend who was present, and gave the following 
particular account of it : That, on the morning before Lord Lyttelton 
died, he entered the breakfast-room between ten and eleven o'clock ; 
appeared rather thoughtful, and did not answer any inquiries made 
by his friends respecting his health, etc. At dinner he seemed much 
better, and when the cloth was taken away, he exclaimed, " Richard's 
himself again !" But as night came on the gloom of the morning 
returned. However, as this was the predicted night of dissolution, 
his friends agreed that it would be right to alter the clocks and watches 
in the house. This was managed by the steward, without Lord Lyt- 
telton suspecting anything of it ; his own watch, which lay on his 
dressing-table, being altered by his valet During the evening they 
got him into some pleasant discussions, in which he distinguished 
himself with peculiar wit and pleasantry. At half after eleven, as he 
conceived it, from the alteration of the clocks (but it was only eleven), 
he said he was tired, and would retire to bed ; bid them a good-night, 
and left them all delighted with his calm appearance. During the 
day not the least hint was given by anyone to him of the dream ; but 
of course, as soon as he had withdrawn, the conversation instantly 
turned upon it. The discourse continued till nearly twelve o'clock, 
when the door being hastily opened, Lord Lyttelton's valet entered, 
pale as death, crying out, " My Lord is dying !" His friends flew to 
his bedside, but he expired before they could all assemble round him ! 
Lord Lyttelton's valet gave to them the following statement : " That 

Instances of Maniacal Delusion Exemplified. \ 99 

Lord Lyttelton made his usual preparations for bed ; that he kept 
every now and then looking at his watch ; that when he got into bed, 
he ordered his curtains to be closed at the foot It was now within 
a minute or two of twelve by his watch ; he asked to look at mine, 
and seemed pleased to find it nearly keep time with his own. His 
Lordship then put them both to his ear, to satisfy himself if they went. 
When it was more than a quarter after twelve by our watches, he said, 
' This mysterious lady is not a true prophetess, I find,' When it was 
near the real hour of twelve, he said, ' Come, I'll wait no longer. 
Get me my medicine ; I'll take it, and try to sleep !' I just stepped 
into the dressing-room to prepare the physic, and had mixed it, when 
I thought I heard my Lord breathing very hard. I ran to him, and 
found him in the agonies of death." [See Note 34.] 

[1816, Part /., p. 599.] 

An elderly man of the name of Williams, of the parish of Cury, 
whilst walking on the road, suddenly fell down, and expired. A re- 
markable circumstance connected with the above awful event is, that 
his daughter, who resides in Helston, dreamt on the preceding night 
that her father was dead; and, on the arrival of a messenger to inform 
her of the melancholy tidings, she exclaimed, " I know your errand ; 
my father is dead !" 

[Other instances are given, but not of any importance.] 

History of a Ghost, towards the latter end of the Reign 
of Lewis XIV. 

[1808, Part I., pp. 12-14.] 

The reader may think as he pleases of this story ; thus much, how- 
ever, is certain, that, at the time, it attracted universal attention, was. 
everywhere believed, and even got into print ; and though some in> 
posture was undoubtedly at bottom, yet at least it had this merit, that 
it was so nicely contrived as to render abortive all attempts to discover 
it, and even to elude all probable conjecture about it. 

The little town of Salon, in Provence, which claims the honour of 
being the birth-place of the celebrated Nostradamus, was also, in* 
April, 1697, the first scene of action to the present history. A spectre,, 
which many people held to be no other than the spirit of Nostradamus, 
appeared to a private man of this town, and caused him no small 
trouble. It began its address to him by commanding him, on pain- 
of death, to observe the most inviolable secrecy in regard of what he 
was about to deliver. This done, it ordered him to go to the Intendant 
of the province, and require, in its name, letters of recommendation, 
that should enable him, on his arrival at Versailles, to obtain a private 
audience of the King. "What thou art to say to the King," con 
tinued the apparition, " thou wilt not be informed of till the day of 

2oo Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost- Stories. 

thy being at court, when I shall appear to thee again, and give thee 
full instructions. But forget not that thy life depends upon the 
secrecy which I enjoin thee on what has passed between us, towards 
everyone, only not towards the Intendant." At these words the 
spirit vanished, leaving the poor man half dead with terror. Scarcely 
was he come a little to himself, than his wife entered the apartment 
where he was, perceived his uneasiness, and inquired after the cause. 
But the threat of the spectre was yet too much present to his mind, 
to let her draw a satisfactory answer from him. The repeated refusals 
of the husband did but serve to sharpen the curiosity of the wife ; the 
poor man, for the sake of quietness, had at length the indiscretion to 
tell her all, even to the minutest particulars ; and the moment he had 
finished his confession, paid for his weakness by the loss of his life. 
The wife, violently terrified at this unexpected catastrophe, persuaded 
herself, however, that what had happened to her husband might be 
merely the effect of an over-heated imagination, or some other acci- 
dent ; and thought it best, as well on her own account, as in regard 
to the memory of her deceased husband, to confide the secret of this 
event only to a few relations and intimate friends. 

But another inhabitant of the town, having, shortly after, the same 
apparition, imparted the strange occurrence to his brother ; and his 
imprudence was in like manner punished by a sudden death. And 
now, not only at Salon, but for more than twenty miles around, these 
two surprising deaths became the subject of general conversation. 

The same ghost again appeared, after some days, to a farrier, who 
lived only at the distance of a couple of houses* from the two that 
had so quickly died ; and who, having learnt wisdom from the mis- 
fortune of his neighbours, did not delay one moment to repair to the 
Intendant. It cost him great trouble to get the private audience as 
ordered by the spectre, being treated by the magistrate as a person 
not right in the head. "I easily conceive, so please your Excellency," 
replied the farrier, who was a sensible man, and much respected as 
such at Salon, " that I must seem in your eyes to be playing an ex- 
tremely ridiculous part ; but if you would be pleased to order your 
sub-delegates to enter upon an examination into the hasty death of 
the two inhabitants of Salon, who received the same commission from 
the ghost as I, I flatter myself that your Excellency, before the week 
be out, will have me called." 

In fact, Francois Michel, for that was the farrier's name, after in- 
formation had been taken concerning the death of the two persons 
mentioned by him, was sent for again to the Intendant, who now 
listened to him with far greater attention than he had done before ; 
then, giving him despatches to Mons. de Baobesieux, minister and 
secretary of state for Provence, and at the same time presenting him 

Might not perhaps this circumstance, properly seized, have conduced to trace 
out the affair ? 

History of a Ghost in the Reign of Lewis XIV. 201 

with money to defray his travelling expenses, wished him a happy 

The Intendant, fearing lest so young a minister as M. de Baobesieux 
might accuse him of too great credulity, and give occasion to the 
Court to make themselves merry at his expense, had inclosed with 
the despatches, not only the records of the examinations taken by his 
sub-delegates at Salon, but also added the certificate of the Lieutenant- 
General de Justice, which was attested and subscribed by all the 
officers of the department. 

Michel arrived at Versailles, and was not a little perplexed about 
what he should say to the minister, as the spirit had not yet appeared 
to him again according to its promise. But in that very night the 
spectre threw open the curtains of his bed, bid him take courage, and 
dictated to him, word for word, what he was to deliver to the minister, 
and what to the King, and to them alone. " Many difficulties will be 
laid in thy way," added the ghost, "in obtaining this private audience; 
but beware of desisting from thy purpose, and of letting the secret be 
drawn from thee by the minister or by anyone else, as thou wouldst 
not fall dead upon the spot." 

The minister, as may easily be imagined, did his utmost to worm 
out the mystery ; but the farrier was firm, and kept silence, swore 
that his life was at stake, and at last concluded with these words : 
that he might not think that what he had to tell the King was all a 
mere farce, he need only mention to his Majesty, in his name, " that 
his Majesty, at the last hunting-party at Fontainebleau, had himself 
seen the spectre ; that his horse took fright at it, and started aside ; 
that his Majesty, as the apparition lasted only a moment, took it for a 
deception of sight, and therefore spoke of it to no one." 

This last circumstance struck the minister; and he now thought it 
his duty to acquaint the King of the farrier's arrival at Versailles, and 
to give him an account of the wonderful tale he related. But how 
great was his surprise, when the Monarch, after a momentary silence, 
required to speak with the farrier in private, and that immediately ! 

What passed during this extraordinary interview never transpired. 
All that is known is, that the spirit-seer, after having staid three or 
four days at Court, publicly took leave of the King, by his own per- 
mission, as he was setting out for the chase. 

It was even asserted, that the Due de Duras, captain of the guard 
in waiting, was heard to say aloud on the occasion : " Sire, if your 
Majesty had not expressly ordered me to bring this man to your pre- 
sence, I should never have done it, for most assuredly he is a fool !" 
The King answered, smiling : " Dear Duras, thus it is that men fre- 
quently judge falsely of their neighbour ; he is a more sensible man 
than you and many others imagine." 

This speech of the King's made a great impression. People exerted 
all their ingenuity, but in vain, to decipher the purport of the con- 

2O2 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

ference between the farrier and the King and the minister Baobesieux. 
The vulgar, always credulous, and consequently fond of the marvel- 
lous, took it into their heads, that the imposts which had been laid 
on by reason of the long and burdensome war were the real motives 
of it, and drew from it happy omens of a speedy relief; but they, 
nevertheless, were continued till the peace. 

The spirit-seer having thus taken leave of the King, returned to his 
province. He received money of the minister, and a strict command 
never to mention anything of the matter to any person, be he who 
he would. Roullet, one of the best artists of the time, drew and 
engraved the portrait of this farrier. Copies are still existing in several 
collections of prints in Paris. That which the writer of this piece 
has seen, represented the visage of a man from about thirty-five to 
forty years of age ; an open countenance, rather pensive, and had 
what the French term physionomie de caractcre. R D. 

The Red Man. 

[1815, Part /.,//. 122, 123.] 

I have sent you the following strange account of Buonaparte's 
interview with his Genius, as it has made its way into several public 
prints, with a view of inviting your enlightened and unprejudiced 
readers to a candid discussion of the probability of supernatural 
beings making their appearances to individuals, for the purpose of 
animating them in the performance of great exploits ; for such, it 
must be allowed, Buonaparte has performed. 

" After the retreat of the ci-devant Emperor Napoleon across the 
Rhine, and his return to his capital, a visible change was observed in 
his habits and his conduct. Instead of wearing the livery of woe for 
the discomfiture of his plans of ambition, and the loss of his second 
grand army, he dismissed his usual thoughtfulness. Smiles played 
on his lips, and cheerfulness sat on his brow. His manners became 
light and easy, and his conversation lively. Business seemed to have 
lost its charms for him ; he sought for amusement and pleasure ! Balls 
and entertainments succeeded each other ; and the Parisians began 
to fancy that either Napoleon was certain of making an advantageous 
peace with the allies whenever he thought proper, or was convinced 
that his downfall was at hand, and therefore wished to spend the last 
weeks of his imperial dignity in enjoyment and ease. Another 
conscription had been ordered, and the legislative body had been 
dismissed ; but these were signs of his existence, not of his activity. 
He remained buried in pleasure, whilst the invaders crossed the 
Rhine, and, rapidly approaching Paris, threatened to destroy at once 
his throne and the metropolis. On a sudden, his conduct expe- 
rienced a second change ; his face resumed its deep and habitual 

The Red Man. 203 

thoughtful gloom ; his attention was engrossed by the cares due to 
his armies ; and every day witnessed new reviews of regiments in the 
Place of the Carrousel Sleep could no longer seal his wakeful eyes ; 
and his wonted activity, in which no other mortal perhaps ever 
equalled him, was displayed with more energy than ever. All the 
time he could spare from his armies and his cabinet he bestowed on 
his state council. So striking an opposition between his present and 
his past conduct could not fail to excite a powerful agitation in the 
minds of the Parisians, and to rnpke them strive to trace up a change 
so abrupt in the manners of their emperor to its true cause. Pre- 
cisely at this time, to the still greater astonishment of the whole city, 
the report of an interview of Napoleon with his Genius, under the 
shape of a mysterious Red Man, transpired. 

"The ist of January, 1814, early in the morning, Napoleon shut 
himself up in his cabinet ; bidding Count Mole (then Counsellor of 
State, and since made Grand Judge of the Empire) to remain in the 
next room, and to hinder any person from troubling him whilst he 
was occupied in his cabinet. He looked more thoughtful than usual. 
He had not long retired to his study, when a tall man, dressed all in 
red, applied to Mold, pretending that he wanted to speak to the 
Emperor. He was answered that it was not possible. ' I must speak 
to him,' said he ; 'go, and tell him that it is the Red Man who wants 
him, and he will admit me.' Awed by the imperious and command- 
ing tone of that strange personage, Mold obeyed reluctantly, and, 
trembling, executed his dangerous errand. ' Let him in,' said 
Buonaparte sternly. 

" Prompted by curiosity, Mold listened at the door, and overheard 
the following curious conversation : 

" The Red Man said, ' This is my third appearance before you. 
The first we met was in Egypt, at the battle of the Pyramids. The 
second, after the battle of Wagram. I then granted you four years 
more, to terminate the conquest of Europe, or to make a general 
peace ; threatening you that, if you did not perform one of those two 
things, I would withdraw my protection from you. Now I am come, 
for the third and last time, to warn you that you have now but three 
months to complete the execution of your designs, or to comply with 
the proposals of peace offered you by the allies : if you do not achieve 
the one, or accede to the other, all will be over with you so remem- 
ber it well.' 

" Napoleon then expostulated with him, to obtain more lime, on 
the plea that it was impossible in so short a space to reconquer what 
he had lost, or to make peace on honourable terms. 

" ' Do as you please,' said the Red Man; ' but my resolution is not 
to be shaken by entreaties, nor otherwise ; and I go.' 

" He opened the door. The Emperor followed, entreating him, 
but to no purpose. The Red Man would not stop any longer ; he 

204 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

went away, casting on his imperial majesty a contemptuous look, an d 
repeating in a stern voice, ' Three months, no longer !' 

" Napoleon made no reply, but his fiery eyes darted fury ; and he 
returned sullenly into his cabinet, which he did not leave the 
whole day. 

" Such were the reports that were spread in Paris three months 
before the fall of Napoleon Buonaparte, where they caused an un- 
usual sensation, and created a belief that he had dealings with infernal 
spirits, and was bound to fulfil their will or perish. What is more 
remarkable is, that in three months the last wonderful events justified 
the Red Man's words completely ; more unfortunate than Caesar, or 
Henry IV. of France, these presages did but foretell his ruin, and not 
his death. 

" Who the Red Man really was, has never been known ; but that 
such a person obtained an interview with him seems to have been 
placed beyond a doubt Even the French papers, when Buonaparte 
was deposed, recurred to the fact, and remarked that his mysterious 
visitant's prophetic threat had been accomplished." 

Yours, etc., GULIELMUS. 

Ghosts and Horse-shoes. 

[1813, Part II., p. 431.] 

As your Salopian correspondent is fond of tracing the hobgoblins 
of superstition to their holes, I should be glad if he could inform me 
of the origin of ghosts being laid in the Red Sea (or indeed of their 
being laid at all) and how they are transported there. I am told they 
deprecate the Red Sea particularly. I apprehend ghosts haunting 
their former habitation to have been a heathen notion, especially for 
want of the funeral rites. But Christian ghosts seem to come after 
hidden treasure, estates kept from the right owners by title-deeds 
mislaid, or in wrong hands, or to warn people of their death, and 
sometimes for no purpose at all to be developed. I should suppose 
the Romish priests have devised the ceremonies of exorcism and lay- 
ing troublesome spirits, which Mr. Dovaston probably has seen, as I 
dare say he is much more versed in ancient lore than myself. If Mr. 
D. or any of your correspondents is in possession of such z.form, it 
would be a bibliomaniac curiosity. Could the subject be investigated, 
I mean the power of disembodied spirits to return to their old habita- 
tions, either to be seen or heard, it might ease many weak minds who 
still suffer from the dread of such visits. But this is beyond the 
limits of embodied spirits to explore. To return to lesser points of 
superstition : " The horse-shoe nailed on the threshold, to prevent 
any witch from stepping over ; and the unluckiness of walking under 
a ladder." Whence ? I have no doubt Mr. D. will be ready to 
gratify a curi osity like his own. E. 

Instructions for Exorcising Evil Spirits, 205 
Instructions for Exorcising Evil Spirits. 

[1814, Part I., pp. 217-219.] 

If you have not already received a satisfactory answer to the letter 
signed E. in your magazine for November last, p. 431, you may pos- 
sibly be inclined to give a place in your miscellany to the following 
imperfect conjectures and notices. 

The vulgar notion that ghosts are laid in the Red Sea, I suspect to 
have arisen from that passage in the Book of Tobit, where the Evil 
Spirit is said to fly to the utmost parts of Egypt, and to be bound 
there ;* coupled with an idea that unclean spirits delight in dry 
places.f The former naturally led the vulgar to fix the place of 
banishment in Egypt ; and the latter suggested the opinion, that the 
Red Sea must be a more painful prison than any the dry land could 

Mr. Brand's "Popular Antiquities"! will furnish E. with a formu- 
lary for exorcising an haunted house ; as will " Fuga Satanoe Exor- 
cismus," with another for driving the unclean spirit out of a man. I 
must apprize him, however, that both these operations are matters of 
no little difficulty and labour, and require some time before the demon 
can be dislodged. Thus he will find that the priest is required to 
visit the haunted house every day for a whole week ; and when he 
has at last driven the devil out, it is necessary to wash the house with 
holy water, from the top even to the bottom, and to secure the four 
corners of it by crosses, etc., lest he should enter again. The proper 
manner of doing this, he will find at length in Mr. Brand's book. 

As the little tract, entitled " Fuga Satanae Exorcismus " will not 
easily be met with, I shall extract from it a few of the most remarkable 
directions to the exorcist. 

After various passages of Scripture have been read, prayers offered 
up, and commands delivered to the demon, which occupy seventy 
pages, the exorcist is instructed to ask the name of the demon, and 
whether he is one, or more, and to write it on a paper ; but if he will 
not speak, or shall conceal his name, then the exorcist is to feign one 

* As Milton expresses it : 

" Though with them better pleas'd 
Than Asmodeus with the fishie fume, 
That drove him, though enamour'd, from the Spouse 
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent 

From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound." Book iv., line 167. 
f A great deal of wit upon this subject may be seen in one of your former 
volumes, where the safety of topers is inferred from the devil's delighting in dry 

t See the new edition in quarto, vol. ii., p. 426. 

The title, at length, is, "Fu-j-ga Satanse Exorcismus, ex sacrarum litterarum 
fontibus, pioq; S. Ecclesise institute exhaustus. Authore Petro Antonio Stampa, 
Sacerdote Clauenense. Cum Privilegio. Venetiis, M.DC.V. Apud Sebastianum 
de Combis." [See Note 35.] 

206 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Stories. 

for him,* and to write it down. He is likewise directed to ask the 
cause of the demon's troubling the possessed, and by whose authority 
he ought to be expelled, that is, by what exorcist, etc.f If, after 
other questions, and various commands, conveyed in sentences from 
Hcrty Writ, the demon continues obstinate, the exorcist is to pro- 
nounce a solemn protest, taken from the 3oth chapter of Isaiah, at 
the 1 2th verse. 

All this, however, is supposed not to be sufficient ; for the readings, 
as before, are continued for fifteen pages more, when the possessed is 
said to be delivered. 

Then follows the mode of burning the instruments of witchcraft, 
in a fire heightened with sulphur and pitch. These three, in a separ- 
ate state, are first to be signed with the cross ; then the fire is to be 
blessed, and sprinkled with holy water ; after which the sulphur and 
pitch are to be cast into it ; and last of all the instruments ; various 
texts of Scripture being repeated during the operation. 

Instructions for suffumigating the possessed are next given ; but 
the exorcist is told that it is to be exercised with caution, and very 
rarely, for this most excellent reason, "ne dum infirmis succurrere 
intendimus, eos graviori morbo afficiamus." If, however, it is found 
necessary to be done, the patient is so to be placed with respect to 
the fire before mentioned, that the smoke may ascend to his nostrils ; 
and this is to be continued as long as may be deemed expedient, 
whilst different texts are repeated.J 

The next rule gives the mode of burning the name and the image 
of the demon. The first of these operations is so curious, that I have 
given it at length. Your readers, Mr. Urban, who may have occasion 
to speak of, or to, the devil, may learn from this document to give 
him his proper title. 

Fu>|ga nominis scripti, & imaginis Dsmonis combustio. 20. 
Si diabolus per os oppressi loquatur, scribe nomen eius si illud sig- 
nificauerit, sin autem vel loqui noluerit vel nomen celauerit, ei nomen 
ad libitum imponas, ex illis quas dsemoni magis conveniunt, ex quibus 
exempli gratia aliqua hie tibi proponam. 
Matt. xiii. Inimicus. 

Inimicus homo hoc fecit. 
Isa. xiv. Baculus. 

Contrivit Dominus Baculum impiorum. 
Ibidem. Virga. 
Virgam dominantium. 

This is further explained below, where a copy of the 2Oth section is given. 

t He must be a weak demon indeed, and completely felo tie se, if he gives a 
direct answer to these questions. 

As this smoke is to be composed of the fumes of sulphur and pitch, there 
seems to be sufficient reason for the caution which is recommended above. The 
origin of suffumigation will probably be found in note *, in the preceding page. 

Instructions for Exorcising Evil Spirits. 207 

Luc. xi. Beelzebub. 

In Beelzebub principe daemoniorum ejicit daemonia. 
Act xvi. Pytho. 

Factum est, etc., puellam quandam habentem spiritum Pytho- 

nem obuiare nobis, quae quaestum magnum, etc. 
Apoc. xvii. Bestia. 

Bestia quam vidisti fuit, et non est, & ascensura est de abysso, 

Isa. xi. Aspis. 

Super foramine aspidis. 
Isa. xxvii. Serpens, & Serpens tortuosus. 

Super leuiathan serpentem vectem, & super leuiathan serpentem 

Apoc. xx. Draco. 

Et appraehendit Draconem serpentem antiquum, etc. 
Psa. xlviii. Inferus. 

Redimet animam meam de manu Inferi. 
Apoc. xx. Infernus et Mors. 

Et infernus, & mors missi sunt in stagnum ignis. 
Zach. ii. Aquilo. 

O, 6, fugite de terra Aquilonis, etc. 
Psa. ix. Insidiator & Raptor. 

Insidiatur, ut rapiat pauperem. 
Judith ix. Tob. xxvi. Superbus. 

Nee superbi ab initio placuerunt tibi. Et prudentia ejus per- 

cussit superbum. 
i Pet. v. Leo. 

Adversarius vester diabolus, tanquam Leo rugiens circuit quserens 

quern deuoret. 
Psa. Ixxvii. Angelus malus. 

Misit, etc., & tribulationem immissiones per Angelos malos. 
i Reg. Spiritus nequam. 

Spiritus autem Domini recessit a Saul, & exagitabat eum spiritus 

Matt. x. Immundus. 

Dedit illis potestatem spirituum immundorum. 
3 Reg. xxii. Mendax. 

Ero spiritus mendax in ore profetarum eius. 
Sap. ii. Diabolus. 

Inuidia autem diaboli mors. 
Matt ix. Dasmones. 

In principe daemoniorum ejicit daemones: 
Deut. xxxii. Daemonium. 

Immolauerunt dasmoniis. 
Job i. Satan. 

Affuit inter eos etiam Satan. 

208 Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost -Stories. 

Matt. iv. Satanas. 

Vade post me Satanas. 

Et cartam in ignem projicias, & dum comburitur dicas aliquos ver- 
siculos ex suprascriptis. 

To the figure of the demon is to be added that of the witch em- 
ployed by him in the witchcraft ; and both are to be cast into the fire 
together. In making the latter figure, a name must be added ; as 
" Pytho, Maleficus, Magus, Strigha, vel aliquod simile." 

Then follow forms for blessing various things, as victuals, drink, 
candles, houses, etc. ; after which a cross, or crosses, must be placed 
in the house. 

Another method of driving out a demon is now given : it consists 
in putting a stole upon the possessed, and tying it about his neck 
with three knots, in the form of a cross, pronouncing at each knot 
the name of one of the three persons in the Trinity. This operation 
is to bind the Old Serpent, and the loosing of the knots will free the 
patient from his power. 

Such, Mr. Urban, are the Popish formularies : I have sought in 
vain for a Protestant one. 

Mr. Selden says, that the Papists account for our having none pos- 
sessed with devils in England, by affirming that " the Protestants the 
devil hath already, and the Papists are so holy that he dares not 
meddle with them."* If this reason ever were assigned, it would 
serve equally well to account for our possessing no forms for exorcising. 

Since the time of Selden, however, matters seem to have altered a 
little, for we all remember that George Lukins, of Bristol, was, not 
many years since, possessed by seven devils. He was, I presume, a 
Dissenter, as the ceremony of exorcising him was conducted by five 
ministers, who were not of the Established Church. It was owing, 
doubtless, to the want of a regular formulary, that the exorcism was 
conducted in such a manner as to tire out even the devils themselves, 
and to force them to cry out in a plaintive tone, Why do you not 
adjure ? Yours, etc., R. R. 

Ghosts in Worcestershire. 

[1855, Part 17., pp. 58,59.] 

Your readers will be surprised, more or less, according to their 
experience in such matters, to be informed that I have detected the 
following ghost-stories as still lingering in this county, in which, no 
doubt, they have been long current : At Beoley, about half a century 
ago, the ghost of a reputed murderer managed to keep undisputed 
possession of a certain house, until a conclave of the clergy chained 
him to the bed of the Red Sea for fifty years. When that term was 
expired, the ghost reappeared, two or three years ago, and more than 

* Table Talk, Article Devils. 

Ghosts in Worcestershire. 209 

ever frightened the natives of the said house, slamming the doors, 
and racing through the ceilings. The inmates, however, took heart, 
and chased him, by stamping on the floor, from one room to another, 
under the impression that, could they once drive him to a trap-door 
opening into the cheese-room (for which, if the ghost happens to be 
a rat, he has a very natural penchant), he would disappear for a season. 
The beadle of the parish, who also combined with that office the 
scarcely less important one of pig-sticker, declared to the writer that 
he dared not go by the house now m the morning till the sun was 
up. (It was an ancient superstition that evil spirits flew away at cock- 

The Droitwich Canal, in passing through Salwarpe, is said to have 
cut off a slice of a large old half-timbered structure, supposed to have 
been formerly a mansion-house ; and in revenge for this act of muti- 
lation, the ghost of a former occupier revisits his old haunts, affrights 
the domestics, and may be seen on dark nights, with deprecatory 
aspect, to glide down the embankment, and suicidally commit him- 
self to the waters below. 

The Little Shelsey people will have it that the court-house in that 
parish is haunted, and that a Lady Lightfoot, who was said to have 
been imprisoned and murdered in the house, comes at night and 
drives a carriage and four fiery horses round some old rooms that are 
unoccupied, and that her ladyship's screams are sometimes heard 
over the whole court. She has likewise beeli seen to drive her team 
into the moat, when the whole disappeared, the water smoking like a 

At Leigh a spectre known as " Old Coles " formerly appeared ; and 
at dead of night, with vis insana, would drive a coach and four down 
a part of the road, dash over the great barn at Leigh Court, and then 
cool the fiery nostrils of his steeds in the waters of the Teme. Mr. 
Jabez Allies also records that this perturbed spirit was at length laid 
in a neighbouring pool by twelve parsons, at twelve at night, by the 
light of an inch of candle ; and as he was not to rise again until the 
candle was quite burnt out, it was therefore thrown into the pool, and 
to make all sure, the pool was filled up ; 

"And peaceful ever after slept 
Old Coles's shade." 

Many of the old manor-houses of Worcestershire have similar 
superstitions. At Huddington there is an avenue of trees called 
" Lady Winter's Walk," where the lady of Thomas Winter, who was 
obliged to conceal himself on account of the share he had in the 
Gunpowder Plot, was in the habit of awaiting her husband's further 
visits ; and here the headless spectre of her ladyship is still seen 
occasionally pacing up and down beneath the sombre shade of these 
aged trees. A headless female also appears at Crowle Brook, by 

VOL. iv. 14 

2 fo Prophecies, Dreams, and Ghost-Storus. 

which it would seem that the poor heart-broken lady sometimes ex- 
tended her visits. 

At Astwood Court, once the seat of the Culpepers, was an old oak 
table removed from the side of the wainscot in 1816, respecting 
which tradition declares that it bore the impress of the ringers of a 
lady ghost, who, probably tired of appearing to no purpose, at last 
struck the table in a rage, and vanished for ever. But the ghost was 
also in the habit of walking from the house to " the cloven pear- 

At Holt Castle it was not long ago believed by the servants that a 
mysterious lady in black occasionally walked at dead of night in a 
certain passage near to the attics ; and likewise that the cellar had 
been occupied by an ill-favoured bird like a raven, which would some- 
times pounce upon any person who ventured to approach a cask for 
drink, and having extinguished the candle with a horrid flapping of 
wings, would leave its victim prostrated with fright. A solution has 
been given to this legend, however, which would imply a little cunning 
selfishness on the part of the domestics who had the care of the ale 
and cider depot. 

Yours, etc., J. NOAKE. 

[There are other narratives of apparitions and ghosts, but none of 
them appear worth reprinting. In the volume for 1752, pp. 173, 174, 
is an account of a voice being heard which foretold a death. In 1762, 
pp. 43, 81, is related the Cock-Lane Ghost and its exposure; the 
same year, p. 64, quotes one of Dr. Plot's narratives from his History 
of Oxfordshire; and p. 114 gives an account of an apparition in 
Kent. In 1768, p. 503, is a list of some prophecies from Sir Thomas 
Brown's Miscellaneous Tracts. In 1795, P art '> P- 37 is a letter on 
"Modern Prophecies." In 1801, part ii., p. 1101, some particulars 
are given of Naylor's Ghost (see ante, pp. 185 190). In 1812, part ii., 
p. n, an account is given of an apparition of huntsmen to a Mr. 

Customs of Foreign Countries. 



Modes of Salutation. 

[1820, Part II., pp. 597-599.] 

WHEN men salute each other in an amicable manner, it signifies 
little whether they move a particular part of the body, or prac- 
tise a particular ceremony. In these actions there must exist different 
customs. Every nation imagines it employs the most reasonable ones; 
but all are equally simple, and none are to be treated as ridiculous. 

The infinite number of ceremonies may be reduced to two kinds, 
to reverences or salutations, and to the touch of some part of the 
human body. To bend and prostrate one's self to express sentiments 
of respect, appears to be a natural notion ; for terrified persons throw 
themselves on the earth, when they adore invisible beings. The affec- 
tionate touch of the person they salute is an expression of tenderness. 

As nations decline from their ancient simplicity, much farce and 
grimace are introduced. Superstition, the manners of a people, and 
their situation, influence the modes of salutation, as may be observed 
from the instances we collect. 

Modes of salutation have sometimes very different characters, and 
it is no uninteresting speculation to examine their shades. Many dis- 
play a refinement of delicacy, while others are remarkable for their 
simplicity or for their sensibility. In general, however, they are fre- 
quently the same in the infancy of nations, and in more polished 
societies. Respect, humility, fear, and esteem are expressed much in 
a similar manner ; for these are the natural consequences of the 
organization of the body. 

The demonstrations become in time only empty civilities, which 
signify nothing ; we shall notice what they were originally, without 
reflecting on what they are. 

The Greenlanders laugh when they see an European uncover his 
head and bend his body before him whom he calls his superior. 

214 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

The Islanders, near the Philippines, take the hand or foot of him, 
they salute, and with it they gently rub their face. 

The Laplanders apply their nose strongly against that of the person 
they salute. 

Dampier says that at New Orleans they are satisfied in placing on 
their heads the leaves of trees, which have ever passed for symbols of 
friendship and peace. This is at least a picturesque salute. 

Other salutations are very incommodious and painful ; it requires 
great practice to enable a man to be polite in an island situated in the 
Streights of the Sound. [Cornelis] Houtman tells us, they saluted 
him in this odd way : " They raised his left foot, which they passed 
gently over the right leg, and from thence over his face." 

The inhabitants of the Philippines bend their bodies very low, in 
placing their hands on their cheeks, and raising at the same time one 
foot in the air with the knee bent. 

An Ethiopian takes the robe of another, and ties it about his own 
waist, so that he leaves his friend half naked. This custom of un- 
dressing on these occasions takes other forms ; sometimes men place 
themselves naked before the person whom they salute ; it is to show 
their humility, and that they are unworthy of appearing in his pre- 
sence. This was practised before Sir Joseph Banks, when he received 
the visit of two female Otaheitans. Their innocent simplicity no 
doubt did not appear immodest in the eyes of the Virtuoso. Some- 
times they only undress partially. 

The Japanese only take off a slipper ; the people of Arracan, their 
sandals in the street, and their stockings in the house. 

The Grandees of Spain claim the right of appearing covered before 
the King, to show that they are not so much subjected to him as the 
rest of the nation. 

The Negroes are lovers of ludicrous actions, and make all their 
ceremonies farcical ; the greater part pull their fingers till they crack. 
Snelgrave * gives an odd representation of the embassy which the King 
of Dahomey sent to him. The ceremonies of salutation consisted in 
the most ridiculous contortions. When two negro Monarchs visit, 
they embrace in snapping three times the middle finger. 

Barbarous nations frequently imprint on their salutations the dis- 
positions of their character. When the inhabitants of Carmena (says 
Athenaeus) would show a peculiar mark of esteem, they breathed a 
vein, and presented for the beverage of their friend the blood as it 

The Franks tore hair from the head, and presented it to the person 
they saluted. The slave cut his hair and offered it to his master. 

The Chinese are singularly affected in their personal civilities ; they 
even calculate the number of their reverences. These are their most 

[* A new account of some parts of Guinea and the slave-trade, London, 1734, 8vo.] 

Modes of Salutation. 2 \ 5 

remarkable postures : The men move their hands in an affectionate 
manner, while they are joined together on the breast, and bow the 
head a little. If they respect a person, they raise their hands joined, 
and then lower them to the earth, in bending the body. If two per- 
sons meet after a long separation, they both fall on their knees, and 
bend the face to the earth ; and this ceremony they repeat two or 
three times. If a Chinese is asked how he finds himself in health ? 
he answers, "Very well, thanks to your abundant felicity." If they 
would tell a man that he looks well, they say, " Prosperity is painted 
on your face ;" or, " Your air announces your happiness." If you 
render them any service, they say, " My thanks should be immortal." 
If you praise them, they answer, " How shall I dare to persuade my- 
self of what you say of me ?" If you dine with them, they tell you 
at parting, " We have not treated you with sufficient distinction." 
The various titles they invent for each other, it would be impossible 
to translate. 

It is to be observed, that all these answers are prescribed by the 
Chinese Ritual, or Academy of Compliments. There are determined 
the number of bows ; the expressions to be employed; and the in- 
clinations which are to be made to the right or left hand ; the saluta- 
tions of the master before the chair, where the stranger is to be seated, 
for he salutes it most profoundly, and wipes the dust away with the skirts 
of his robe ; all these gestures, and other tilings, are noticed, even to 
the silent gestures by which you are entreated to enter the house. 
The lower class of people are equally nice in these punctilios ; and 
ambassadors pass forty days in practising them before they are enabled 
to appear at court. A Tribunal of Ceremonies has been erected, and 
every day very odd decrees are issued, to which the Chinese most 
religiously submit. 

The marks of honour are frequently arbitrary ; to be seated, with 
us, is a mark of repose and familiarity ; to stand up, that of respect. 
There are countries, however, in which princes will only be addressed 
by persons who are seated, and it is considered as a favour to be per- 
mitted to stand in their presence. This custom prevails in despotic 
countries ; a despot cannot suffer, without disgust, the elevated figure 
of his subjects ; he is pleased to bend their bodies with their genius ; 
his presence must lay those who behold him prostrate on the earth ; 
he desires no eagerness, no attention, he would only inspire terror. 
[See Note 36.] W. R. 

On Funeral Ceremonies. 

[1827, Part I., pp. 300-302.] 

There is perhaps no part of the history of human manners more 
singular than that which regards the funeral rites and memorials of 

barbarous and pagan nations Amidst the vast diversity which 

here crowd upon our observation, there are several customs which 

2i6 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

seem reasonably traceable to those natural emotions and wishes 
which are excited by death in the minds of the survivors ; to the 
poignancy of sorrow, and the warmth of affection ; some owe their 
origin to an extravagant admiration of departed worth ; in others we 
mark the strong influence of religious prejudice or philosophical 
theory, or perhaps the wanderings of imagination in the fields of 
poetical allegory. Sometimes also they furnish us with striking coin- 
cidences in opinion and practice between the most remote nations, 
which are either so general as to mark the wide operation of certain 
principles and passions, or so minute as to illustrate the original 
identity of nations, and the uniform preservation of ancient tradition. 
Lastly, there are some customs of this class so peculiar and extrava- 
gant, that it is extremely difficult to reduce them to any more satis- 
factory causes than man's vain and wanton caprice, or the senseless 
corruptions of rustic ignorance. 

My present purpose is to throw into one view a few of the more 
remarkable of these phenomena. 

(i) It is well known that the ancient Greeks and Romans attached 
the highest importance to the due performance of the obsequies of 
their departed friends, and that the souls of the unburied were believed 
to wander for the space of an hundred years upon the disconsolate 
banks of the Styx. The Hindoos also (who speak of a river of fire 
to be crossed by the disembodied spirit, and are accustomed to place 
a piece of money in the mouth of the corpse) declare that the souls 
of those who remain unburied wander as evil deities through the 
earth. In conformity with such prejudices, where the exequies could 
not be strictly performed, certain ceremonies by way of substitution 
were allowed. It is notorious, from the testimony of Horace and 
other writers, that three handfuls of soft earth thrown upon the body 
were considered effectual for this purpose ; and we know that Andro- 
mache, in Virgil, raised an empty sepulchre to the memory of Hector. 
But similar customs are also observed in the remote kingdom of 
Tonquin. Father Marini * relates that, " when any friend is dead, and 
his body is nowhere to be found, they write his name on a piece of 
board, and perform the same funeral solemnities to that representation 
of him, as if it were his real corpse." 

In the third ^Kneid, v. 67, 68, particular ceremonies are specified, 
by which the souls of the dead were invited to the sepulchres, and 
made, as it were, inhabitants of them, " animamque sepulchre con- 
dimus." So in Ausonius, " voce ciere animas funeris instar habet." 
Now it is curious that, according to Father Tissanier's t account of 
Tonquin, a king of that country having made choice of a magnificent 

[* Giovanni Filippo de Marini, Delle Missioni tie Padri della Comfagnia di 
Gifsu nella Prcvincia del Giaffone, e particolarmente di quella di Tumkino 
Roma, 1663, 410; translated into French, Paris, 1666.] 

[f delation du Voyage du P. J. Jissanier depuis la France jusqu 'ati Royaume de 
Tonquin. Paris, 1663, 8vo.] 

On Funeral Ceremonies. 217 

house for the reception of his father's soul, formally purchased it, and 
then after setting forth a rich repast, with four profound bows, he 
requested the spirit to accept of his new habitation. Accordingly, a 
statue, representing the soul, upon which the King's name was written, 
was conveyed thither with great pomp, and to conclude the ceremony, 
this palace, with all its costly furniture, was set fire to, and consumed. 
Another traveller relates, that the Japanese, upon a yearly festival, 
visit the tombs, where they have familiar intercourse with the dead, 
whom they invite to follow them back to the city. To this the souls 
consent, but, after two days' sojourn among the living, theyare driven 
back to the tombs by a great shower of stones ; for any further con- 
tinuance of their visit would be esteemed highly unfortunate. In 
these practices we may readily trace a belief in the immortality and 
immateriality of the human soul, mingled with a confused notion of 
its partiality to the body, and its subserviency to human influence. 

Another instance of extraordinary care bestowed upon the rites of 
burial may be found in the custom prevalent both in ancient Greece 
and modern Scotland, of preparing the shroud of a sick or aged per- 
son even long before the approach of death. Although this anxiety 
may not be very easily accounted for upon principles of reason, it 
may be acknowledged as the natural result of the affection of ignorant 
persons, attaching identity to the body instead of the soul. Hence 
also the custom common among pagan nations, of placing food beside 
the tombs of the deceased, which was in some cases carried so far, 
that provisions were let down by a pipe into the grave, and sometimes 
were even applied to the mouth of the dead person. An Ethiopian 
nation, according to Herodotus, preserved the bodies of their relations 
enclosed in coffins made of a sort of glass. 

Strangely mingled with these marks of affection, are symptoms of 
a superstitious dread of the relics of the departed. The touch of a 
corpse was, and is now in many parts of the world, thought to impart 
a pollution which much time and ceremony alone could cleanse. The 
Kings of some countries were not allowed even to behold one, and 
the Pontifex Maximus of Rome was, according to Seneca,* laid under 
the same restraint. The Hindoos, we are assured, consider carcasses 
as evil deities, and the bodies of those who die under an unfortunate 
constellation are carried out of the house, not by the door, but 
through a hole made in the wall, and the house is deserted for a con- 
siderable time. This last peculiar custom is, according to Kolbens, 
general among the Hottentots, who carry out a corpse through a hole 
in the back of the hut, for they imagine, he adds, that the dead are 
mischievously inclined to injure the cattle confined in the midst of 
the village. Lastly, the Kamschadales frequently desert the hut in 
which a relation has breathed his last, and carefully throw away all 
the clothes which he used in life.f 

* Marc. 15. t " History of Kamschatka, translated from the Russian," 1764. 

2 1 8 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

When we consider the splendid obsequies and expensive mausolea 
so common in most ages and countries, the solicitude so generally 
manifested to ensure the rites of burial, and the frequent practice of 
deifying the departed, it may appear abstractly improbable that any 
nations are to be found by whom these marks of respect are neglected ; 
yet instances of such disrespect are discoverable even in civilized 
regions. In Mexico, Mr. Bullock* observed no memorials of the dead ; 
neither monuments nor inscriptions appear to be in use. In Switzer- 
land also, though funerals are conducted with becoming solemnity, 
no service is read over the grave. Among ruder nations may be per- 
ceived marks of a studied and even contemptuous disrespect. The 
ancient Troglodytae, as Diodorus relates, were in the habit of covering 
the bodies of their relations with a shower of stones, accompanying 
this unceremonious treatment with peals of laughter, t Whether this 
point may be illustrated by the conduct of that people who were said 
to lament at every birth, and to rejoice at funerals, from an opinion 
of the misery of human life, it is difficult to say. The classical writer 
above cited, speaks also of an Ethiopian tribe who abandon their 
dead upon the coast, below low-water mark, from the express desire 
that they may become food for fishes. The inhabitants of Radack. 
an island in the Pacific Ocean, act, according to Captain Kotzebue, 
in a similar manner. Yet more strange is the usage of the Kamscha- 
dales, who regularly, we are told, deliver up their dead as food for 
dogs, and this not from intentional neglect, but because they think it 
a means of procuring fine dogs for their spirits in the other world, 
and that the evil powers, who are the authors of death, may be satis- 
fied with seeing the bodies abandoned without the houses.}: 

The Gaures or Guebres of the East are well known to abandon the 
remains of their friends, in uncovered enclosures, to the birds which 
live upon carrion. The same practice prevails in Tibet, where these 
receptacles have covered passages below to admit the beasts of prey : 
some bodies are thrown into a river, but burial is quite unknown. 
The inhabitants of the parts near the Pontus Euxinus were, we are 
told, in ancient times so monstrous, as to devour the bodies of their 
deceased parents ; and the Balearic islanders used to cut them to 
pieces, and place the mutilated fragments in earthen pots. 

It were endless, however, to enumerate the extravagancies with 

which the funeral rites of barbarous nations are replete 

Yours, etc., A. R. C. 

[* Six months' residence and travels in Mexico. London, 1824, 8vo.] 
t Bibl., 1. iii., c. 32. J Hist. Kams. 

On the Scarab&us. 219 

On the Scarabaeus. 

[1844, Part II., pp. 16-18.] 

In every cabinet or museum of antiquities are to be seen numerous 
collections of stones, such as agate, cornelian, porphyry, basalt, etc, 
etc., which are worked into the shape of the scarabasus or beetle, and 
have often some engraving or device on the flat surface. They have 
been found in great abundance in Egypt, and occasionally amongst 
the vestiges and ruins of the ancient Etruscan cities, and are of 
different sizes and great variety of execution. Why this insect should 
have been selected so generally for an object of sculpture is by no 
means a clear point, and it may be a matter of some interest to inquire 
for what reason any consideration should have been attached to a 
creature of such comparative insignificance, and how far it may have 
been connected with the philosophy and mythology of the earliest 
nations of the world. 

Lanzi, in his "Saggio di Lingua Etrusca" (p. 135, vol. i.), has these 
observations on this subject : 

" We will now say a few words on the Scarabaeus, which has served 
as a model for the form of a vast number of Etruscan sculptured 

"They are generally perforated with a hole lengthways, so that 
either they may be strung on a thread or small cord, and thus worn 
as amulets, or, by means of a rivet, they may be fixed or set, so as to 
serve the purpose of a ring or signet. This description of superstition 
is derived from Egypt, where the scarabreus was held by many as an 
object of divine worship,* and was universally considered a symbol of 
the moon and the sun. It was likewise supposed to be emblematical 
of manly strength and vigour, from the received opinion that these 
insects were solely of the male species, and from thence were held as 
particularly adapted to form the subject of the ring or signet used by 
the military class. Thus, according to Plutarch, the scarabaeus amongst 
fighting men was engraved on their signets, f 

"The same custom seems to have passed over into Italy, either 
having been first adopted in Sicily, where the usages of Egypt pre- 
vailed from the earliest ages, or through the doctrines of Pythagoras, 
whose philosophy, being veiled in symbols, was copied from that of 
the Egyptians. There is every reason to suppose that the warriors of 
Italy held this same opinion respecting the scarabaeus, since the figure 
of some hero was generally engraved on the flat surface of the stone, 
and it was probably not only considered as an amulet, but, from the 

* ^sgypl" magna pars scarabxos inter numina colit. Plin. "Nat. Hist." xxx., 

C. Tf>. 

t Toif Ik /ta^ifiotf icdvdapog f/v y\v<j>fi aQpayiSof. " De Iside et Osiride," [sec. 10] 
P. 355- 

2 2O Customs of Foreign Countries. 

image representing some person connected with religious veneration, 
it was classed and deposited amongst the household gods. Hence it 
follows, that, as the style of engraving in many instances is exceed- 
ingly rude and unfinished, it is to be supposed that these scarabaei 
were in use among the soldiery of the lower grades, since such as are 
more delicately executed are far less numerous." 

The earliest mention in the Old Testament of religious worship 
rendered to any divinity connected with an insect occurs in the ist 
chap. 2nd Book of Kings, 2nd and 3rd verses. " Ahaziah, King of 
Israel, having fallen through a lattice of his upper chamber, and 
having thus received some dangerous injury, sent to consult Beelze- 
bub, the god of Ekron, to know whether he should recover of this 
disease." The name of this deity* is translated in the Septuagint as 
"The God- Fly of the Ekronites,"t who were the inhabitants of a 
district belonging to the Philistines, situated near the Mediterranean, 
and originally allotted to the tribe of Judah. (Josh. chap. xv. ver. 45 
and 46.) 

Calmet saysj (and the same opinions are found in Buxtorf's 
Chaldee Dictionary, v. the word " Baal "), that 

" This deity was called the god of the flies, either because he 
defended the people from the flies (which were attracted in great 
numbers by the sacrifices), or because the idol represented a fly or 
beetle, and the figure of this insect was according to Pliny an object of 
adoration. The Egyptians, with whom this worship originated, were 
at a short distance from the country of the Philistines, and it is 
observed that there are beetles in the pictures of Isis, on which 
Pignorius has a comment. The author of the Book of Wisdom || 
(chap. xii. ver. 8, 23, and 24), having said that God sent flies and 
wasps to drive the Canaanites and Ammonites by degrees out of their 
country, adds, that God made those very things, to which they paid 
divine honours, the instruments of their punishment ; they therefore 
adored flies and wasps. There are said to be medals and old seals 
on which flies and beetles are represented. Some authors are of 
opinion that the name Achor H (as quoted by Pliny) being the god 

* Baal, Beel, or Bel, signifying "lord" or "master," and "zebub" or "zevuv," 
a fly. 

t Boa\ ftviav 9ebv 'AjCKapwv. 

J Vide Calmet's Dictionary, under the word " Beelzebub." 

Pignorius Laurentius, of Padua, a canon of Treviso, died 1631. He wrote 
the "Mensa Isiaca" [Amstelodami, 1669, 410], to illustrate Egyptian antiquities. 
Vide p. 43. 

II As Calmet evidently refers to the Vulgate, these verses are here given : 

Wisdom xii. 8. Et misisti antecessores exercitus tui vespas. 

Ver. 23. Undeet illis, qui in vita sua insensatfe et injuste vixerunt, per htzt, qua 
coluerunt, dedisti summa tormenta. 

Ver. 24. Etenim in erroris vi& diutius erraverunt, Deos estimantes haec, quae 
in animalibus sunt sivpervacua. Vulgate Version. 

T Cyreniaci Achorem Deum invocant, muscarum multitudine pestilentiam affe- 
rente, quse protinus intereunt, cum litatum est illi Deo. Plin. "Nat. Hist.," 1. x., 

On the Scaraba"us. 221 

invoked at Cyrene against flies, refers to Akron, the cuy where Beel- 
zebub was worshipped." 

According to this extract from Calmet it appears that winged 
insects, such as the fly, the wasp, and the beetle, were objects of 
worship amongst the Egyptians and the adjoining nations. It may 
further be observed, that one of the distinguishing marks on the calf, 
which was held to be the personification of the god Apis, was " the 
form of a beetle found under his tongue."* Both Isis and Osiris, 
themselves the symbols of the moon and the sun, were likewise con- 
nected with the worship rendered to the cow, ox, or bull, into which 
figure Osiris was said to have passed by the doctrine of Metempsy- 
chosis. As therefore the scarabaeus became thus identified with the 
mythology of Egypt, it may be supposed that it had some mystical 
allusion to the religious veneration so universally paid to an animal, 
whose authenticity, as a divine being, it essentially contributed to 

Axminster. N. T. S. 

On Ancient and Modern Customs. 

[1828, Part //.,//. 301-303-] 

So many traces of the ceremonies and usages of ancient nations 
still exist in the popular superstitions and manners of modern times, 
that an endeavour to point out their resemblance, and to describe 
some of the principal corresponding customs, may not be considered 
either useless or uninstructive. Among the Romans, especially, we 
find in various points so striking a similarity, as to leave no room for 
doubt that many of their usages have been transmitted to, and adopted 
by, later ages, with little or no alteration. 

The ancients were accustomed to surround places struck by light- 
ning with a wall : things were buried with mysterious ceremony. Per- 
sons killed in this manner were wrapped in a white sheet, and interred 
on the spot where they fell. Bodies scathed, and persons struck dead, 
were thought to be incorruptible, and a stroke not fatal conferred per- 
petual honour on the man so distinguished by heaven. Bullengerf 
relates that the Curtian lake, and the Runcival fig-tree in the forum, 
having been touched by lightning, were held sacred, and, in com- 
memoration of the event, a puteal, or altar, resembling the mouth ot 
a well, with a little chapel, was erected over the cavity supposed to 
have been made by the thunderbolt. 

Places or objects struck by lightning, remarks the historian Gibbon, 
were regarded by the ancients with pious horror, as singularly devoted 

c. 40. Cyrene, here mentioned, was a city and province of Libya Pentapolitana, 
lying between the great Syrtes and the Mediterranean. 

* Further information may very probably be obtained from the work of Pigno- 
rius, from Bochart, " De Sacris Animalibus," and from the more recent discoveries 
in the drawings and hieroglyphics of Egypt. [See Note 37.] 

f- "De terras motu et fulminibus," lib. v., cap. n. Notes to "Childe Harold," 
Canto iv., stan. xli. 

222 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

to the wrath of heaven. The fate of the Roman Emperor Carus, 
whose death was supposed to have been thus occasioned on his ex- 
pedition to Persia, and an ancient oracle which declared the river 
Tigris to be the boundary of the Roman arms, so dismayed the legions, 
that they refused to continue the campaign, and required to be con- 
ducted immediately from a spot which had become distinguished by 
so fatal an event* 

When a place was blasted by lightning, it was called bidental, and 
an atonement or expiatory sacrifice was offered of sheep two years 
old, called bidentes, from having at that age two teeth longer than the 
rest ; and the spot was ever afterwards held sacred and inviolable. It 
was considered the height of profaneness and impiety to disturb the 
ground, or to venture within the consecrated precincts. Horace, in 
his "Art of Poetry," makes the following allusion to this custom : 


Minxerit in patrios cineres, an triste bidental 
Maverit incestus." 470-472. 

The term bidental was also applied to a person struck by lightning : 

"Triste jaces lucis, evitandumque bidental." Persitis [ii. 27]. , 

The eagle, the sea-calf, and the laurel, are mentioned by Pliny, in 
his " Natural History," as the most approved preservatives against the 
effects of lightning. " Aquila, vitulus Marinus, et laurus fulmine non 
feriuntur" (lib. ii., cap. 55). Jupiter chose the first, Augustus 
Caesar the second, and Tiberius never failed to wear a wreath of the 
third when the sky threatened a thunder-storm. (Notes to " Childe 
Harold," Canto iv.). Lord Byron thus alludes to the ancient popular 
superstitions on the subject : 

" The lightning rent from Ariosto's bust 
The iron crown of laurel's mimic'd leaves : 
Nor was the ominous element unjust, 
For the true laurel-wreath which glory weaves 
Is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves, 
And the false semblance but disgrac'd his brow ; 
Yet still, if fondly Superstition grieves. 
Know that the lightning sanctifies below 
Whate'er it strikes ; yon head is doubly sacred now." 

Childe Harold, Canto iv., xli. 

A relic of the custom above referred to, of using imaginary pre- 
servatives against lightning, still exists in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and 
other Catholic countries. The branches of palm which are used in 
the religious processions on Palm Sunday, after having been blessed 
by the priests, are sent by the clergy to their friends, who fasten them 
to the bars of their balconies, to be, as they imagine, a protection 
from the effects of thunder and lightning.t 

* "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," chap. 12. 

t See Don Leucadio Doblado's [pseud, i.e. J. B. White] " Letters from Spain," 
[London, 1822,] p. 249. 

On /Indent and Modern Customs. 223 

The ancients entertained the idea that omens furnished by light- 
ning portended some approaching calamity. The shepherd Melibceus, 
in the fust Eclogue of Virgil, thus introduces the prevailing notion : 

" Stepe raalum hoc nobis, si mens non laeva fuisset, 
De ccelo tactas memini pradicere quercus : 
Ssepe sinistra cavil praedixit ab ilice cornix." Eel. i., 16.* 

The brazen image of the celebrated Roman wolf, which suckled 
Romulus and Remus, having been struck by lightning, was held sacred 
by the Romans, and preserved with the greatest care and sanctity. 
Considerable doubts, however, exist amongst antiquaries as to the 
identity of the image, some contending that it was the one kept in 
the temple of Romulus, under the Palatine, alluded to by Livy in 
his history, and by Dionysius in his " Roman Antiquities ;" and others 
affirming it to be the image mentioned by Cicero and the historian 
Dion as having suffered a similar accident. The various conflicting 
authorities on this question are collected and commented on with 
great learning and ingenuity in the notes to " Childe Harold," 
Canto iv., Stan. Ixxxviii. 

The ancients observed the custom of casting stones on the graves 
of persons who had suffered or inflicted upon themselves a violent 
death, and of performing the rites of sepulture on their unburied 
remains. Horace, in one of his Odes, represents the philosopher 
Archytas (the pupil of Plato), who perished in a shipwreck, imploring 
the charity of the passing sailor to consign his body to the grave : 

" At tu, nauta, vagae ne parce malignus arense 
Ossibus et capili inhumato 
Farticulam dare." Odes, b. i., 28. 

The antiquity of this custom appears, from Proverbs xxvi. 3, to 

be very great. Shakespeare, describing the death and interment of 

Ophelia, thus alludes to it, as generally practised at the burial of 
suicides : 

" For charitable prayers 

Shards, flints and pebbles, should be thrmim on her ; 
Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants, 
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home 
Of bell and burial." Hamlet, Act v. 

It is also the practice in Catholic countries, in modern times, for 
passengers to throw a stone in passing at the foot of the double cross 
which denotes an untimely grave. In Spain this is constantly seen 
at the monumental crosses erected in the highways to those who have 
perished by the hands of robbers. To this prevailing custom may 
also probably be traced the origin of cairns in Scotland and Wales. 


* " Bene haec ad superstitionem talium hominum dicuntur," observes a com- 
mentator on the passage above quoted, " cum adversi aliquid iis accidit. De- 
buisse se hanc calamitatem prsevidere ait ex arboribus frequenter fulmine lactis, 
quod est inter ostenta. " 

224 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

[1828, Part II., pp. 498-500.] 

The ancient custom, to which I alluded in my last, of heaping 
stones on the graves of persons who had suffered an untimely death, 
still exists in Sweden, as appears by the following passage extracted 
from the work of an entertaining modern traveller : 

" On passing through the forest of Kaaglar, on our way from the 
lake of Venern to Stockholm, we saw near the roadside several large 
heaps of stones, which, dropped by the pious hands of the passengers, 
point out the spot where the remains of some unfortunate traveller 
repose beneath the shade of the waving pines. This practice is very 
general in Sweden " (Captain de Capel Brooke's " Travels in Sweden 
and Norway in 1820," p. 22). 

The custom of erecting crosses in conspicuous situations, as objects 
of devotion or as monuments of guilt, seems to be almost universal 
in continental and other foreign countries. Captain [Sir F. B.] Head, 
in his amusing "Rough Notes" [London 1826], taken amongst the 
Andes, relates that in his passage over the Great Cordillera, he saw 
on one of the highest summits a large wooden cross, which had been 
erected by tw6 arrieros to commemorate the murder of their friend 
(p. 1 68). Lieutenant [Charles] Brand, in his recent work containing 
an account of his journey over the Andes on foot in the snow 
[London 1828], notices frequently the same circumstance. On the 
ascent to the Hospice of the Grand St. Bernard, several crosses stand 
near the roadside, as similar memorials. This custom is also 
observable on the banks of the Rhine, in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. 
Lord Byron thus alludes to its existence in the latter country, in his 
magnificent description of Cintra : 

" And here and there, as up the crags you spring, 

Mark many rude-carv'd crosses near the path, 
Yet deem not these devotion's offering, 

These are memorials frail of murderous wrath ; 
For wheresoe'er the shrieking victim hath 

Pour'd forth his blood beneath the assassin's knife, 
Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath, 

And grove and glen with thousand such are rife, 
Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life." 

Childe Harold, Canto i., xxi. 

In all ages and in all countries of the world, mankind has appeared 
to feel and to express by external signs a deep and well-founded ab- 
horrence of the crime of murder, whether committed by the delibe- 
rate hand of the suicide or the assassin. This feeling, implanted by 
Providence in the human breast, has no doubt given rise to and per- 
petuated the custom alluded to. 

It was a well-known practice amongst the Roman soldiers, when 
they applauded a speech of their General, to strike their shields with 
their swords, as a testimony of their approbation. Of this we may 
read many instances in the works of Livy, and several of the ancient 
classic poets. Tacitus also relates that the Germans, who always 

On Ancient and Modern Customs. 225 

carried their arms with them, were accustomed, in their public assem- 
blies and debates, to testify their approval or dislike of the harangues 
made to them, by striking their weapons together, if pleased, and, if 
the contrary, by loud murmurs and other tokens of displeasure. He 
adds, that the former was considered the most honourable proof of 
satisfaction, " Ut turbas placuit, considunt armati, nihil autem neque 
publicx neque privatae rei, nisi armati, agunt. Mox rex vel princeps, 
prout aetas cuique, prout nobilitas, prout decus bellorum, prout fa- 
cundia est, audiuntur, auctoritate suadendi magis quam jubendi 
potestate. Si displicuit sententia, fremitu aspernantur, sin placuit, 
frameas concutiunt. Honoratissimum assensus genus est armis laudare" 
(Germania, xi.). A similar custom is mentioned by the same author 
in his histories on occasion of the speech of Civilis (Lib. iv. 15). 

The historian Gibbon, in his admirable " Summary of the Character 
and Manners of the Ancient Germans," abridged from the " Ger- 
mania " of Tacitus, has thus referred to the foregoing passage: "If 
the orator did not give satisfaction to his auditors, it was their custom 
to signify, by a hollow murmur, their dislike of his counsels. But 
whenever a more popular speaker proposed to vindicate the meanest 
citizen from either foreign or domestic injury, whenever he called 
upon his countrymen to assert the national honour, or to pursue 
some enterprise full of danger and glory, a loud clashing of shields and 
spears expressed the eager applause of the assembly. For the Germans 
always met in arms, and it was to be dreaded, lest an irregular and 
uncontrolled multitude should use their arms to enforce as well as 
to declare their furious resolves."* 

Milton also alludes to this custom in his ' Paradise Lost," when 
describing Satan's address to his legions, and their declaration of war 
against heaven : 

" Highly they raged 

Against the Highest ; and fierce with grasped arms 
Clash' d on their sounding shields the din of war, 
Hurling defiance tow'rds the vault of heav'n." Book i., 666-669. 

Similar allusions are to be found in Shakespeare ("Coriolanus," 
Act i., sc. ix., and "Julius Caesar," Act v.), and in other dramatic 
poets. Thus also Spenser, in his " Faery Queen " : 

" And clash their shields and shake their swords on high." 

Book i., Canto iv., st. 40. 

The ancients were accustomed to suspend in their temples shields, 
with appropriate inscriptions, and many other votive offerings in 
honour of their divinities. In the " yEneid," Virgil represents his 
hero yEneas, in the narration of his adventures after the sacking of 
Troy, as thus alluding to the practice : 

* "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," chap. ix. 

226 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

" jTire cavo clipeum, magni gestamen Abantis, 
Postibus atlversis figo, tt rem carmine signo, 
/Eneas ha-c de Danais victoribus arma."* 

Book iii., 286-288. 

Dffidalus also, when he had finished his aerial voyage, and arrived 
in safety at Chalcis, is related by the same poet to have consecrated 
his wings to Apollo, and to have erected temples to that divinity, in 
commemoration of the event. 

" Redditus his primum terris tibi Phoebe sacravit 
Remigium alarum, posuitque immania templa." 


This custom of making votive offerings, as I have had occasion to 
remark in a former number, is still preserved in Catholic countries, 
as their various churches and places of worship amply testify. 
Amongst innumerable buildings of this description may be men- 
tioned the Pantheon, which, though originally dedicated by the 
Romans to all the divinities of the heathen mythology, is now de- 
voted solely to the service of the Virgin Mary ; and its walls are 
accordingly hung round with presents which have been from time 
to time offered by her worshippers as tokens of gratitude, and as 
memorials of her miraculous interference in their behalf, in cases of 
shipwreck, sickness, and distress. In the church of the Campo Santo, 
an extensive cemetery near Bologna, the chains of several Christian 
captives redeemed from slavery amongst the Turks and Algerines are 
suspended from the walls as propitiatory offerings, and to perpetuate 
the memory of their deliverance. Washington Irving also, in his 
recent interesting " Life of Columbus," mentions that Columbus, on 
his return from his first voyage of discovery, went barefoot with his 
crew on a pilgrimage to the nearest shrine, in performance of a vow 
which he had made during a furious storm, and offered up several 
gifts to commemorate his gratitude and unexpected preservation. 
Pilgrimages of this kind were frequent in those days of early navi- 
gation, in which mariners were less able to avoid the dangers of the 
deep than at the present time, when numerous ingenious inventions 
and improvements have so greatly diminished the difficulties and 
perils attendant on long voyages. Hence we so often find, in works 
which treat of maritime adventures at the period referred to, constant 
allusions to these traces of ancient popular customs, and to the strong 
resemblance which existed between them. [See post, p. 227.] R. 

Roman Manners. 

[1828, Part /.,/. 112.] 

It will not surprise any person, who can estimate probabilities, to 
learn that the polite Romans, like ourselves, when it was not agree- 

* " De clipeis votivis cum titulo inscripto inter donaria suspensis res noia," 
observes the commentator on the passage above quoted. 

Roman Manners. 227 

able to them to receive visits, took the liberty of directing their 
servants to say, "Not at home." But it may be amusing to see a 
direct confirmation of the fact from an ancient author. This we find 
in a very neat and good-humoured epigram of Martial : 

" Ne valeam, si non totis, Deciane, diebus 

Et tecum totis noctibus esse velim : 
Seel duo sunt qute nos distinguunt millia passum, 

Quatuor hoec fiunt, cum rediturus earn. 
Ssepe domi non es ; cum sis quoque, sape negaris ; 

Vel tantum cau^is, vel tibi soepe vacas. 
Te tamen ut videam, duo millia non piget ire, 

Ut te non videam, quatuor ire piget." Book ii., Ep. 5. 

Which I thus translate : 

" So may I thrive, my Decius, as 'tis true 
Whole days and nights I'd gladly pass with you, 
But two long miles divide, which, told again, 
Amount to four, when I return in vain. 
Oft you are out, or if not out, denied, 
By causes or by studies occupied. 
Two miles to see you willingly I trudge, 
Butyfr>- to miss you, I confess, I grudge." 

Yours, etc., NIL Novi. 
Ancient Roman Customs. 

[1827, Part I., pp. 307-309.] 

The following observations on some of the ancient Roman customs 
may probably not be unacceptable to the readers of your agreeable 
and instructive miscellany. 

The custom which prevailed amongst the ancients of making votive 
offerings to their favourite divinities, in order to procure themselves 
safe journeys by sea or land, or in token of their gratitude for pre- 
servation from some imminent danger, still exists in the Catholic 
countries of Europe, as the numerous churches and chapels in France, 
Spain, and Italy amply testify. [See ante, p. 226.] In the church at 
Boulogne, for example, several pictures and models of ships are sus- 
pended from the walls near the altar which have been presented as 
offerings to the Virgin Mary by the captains of French trading vessels 
belonging to the port. These paintings represent the various perilous 
situations in which the ships and their crews have been placed during 
their respective voyages, and the dangers from which they suppose 
themselves to have been miraculously delivered through her influence. 
We may here trace a strong resemblance to the custom of the ancient 
Romans on similar occasions, such as their preservation from storms 
and shipwrecks, when it was usual for the saved mariners to hang up 
in the temple of Neptune their dripping garments, or pictures, or 
some other token emblematic of the event, as grateful and propitiatory 


228 Customs of Foreign Countries. 


offerings to that divinity. This custom is alluded to by Horace in 
the fifth Ode of his first Book : 

" Me tabuld sacer 
VotivA paries indicat avida 
Suspendisse potent! 

Vestimenta maris Deo." 13-16.* 

The same practice prevailed amongst the ancient Greeks, as men- 
tioned by Robinson in his " Archaeologia Graeca." 

Shipwrecked mariners were also formerly accustomed to carry 
about, and exhibit in public, painted representations of the calamities 
which had befallen them on the ocean, for the purpose of exciting the 
compassion and charity of their fellow-countrymen. Horace alludes 
to this custom in his " Art of Poetry : " 

" Fortasse cupressum 

Scis simulare : quid hoc, sifractis enalat exspes 
Navibus, sere dato qui fingitur ?" 19 20. f 

Persius, in his " Satires," has also referred to this practice : 

" Men' moveat, quippe, et cantet si tiaufragus, assent 
Protulerim ? can/as, cum fractd te in trabe pictum 
Ex huniero portes." Sat. i., 88-90. 

Thus translated by Sir William Drummond in his version of Persius : 

" What should we give ? what alms? if on the shore, 
While round his neck the pictur'd storm he wore, 
The shifuircck'd sailor, destitute of aid, 
Sttng as he begg'd, and jested as he pray'd ?" 

It was likewise customary amongst the Romans to have pictures 
drawn of certain events in their lives which they bound themselves 
by a vow to consecrate to the gods. Thus Horace, speaking of 
Lucilius, remarks : 

" VotivA pateat veluti descripta tabelld 
Vita senis." Satires, Book ii., Sat. i., 33. 

The gladiators were accustomed to suspend their arms in the 
temple of Hercules, their patron divinity : 

" Veianius, armis 

f/erculis ad postern Jixis, latet abditus agro ; 
Ne populum extrema toties exoret arena." 

HORACE, Book i., Epist. i., 4-6.* 

* In a note on the above passage is the following commentary, which illustrates 
and confirms the preceding observations : " Videmus autem hodie quosdam quoque 
pingere in tabulis suos casus, quos in mari pass! sint, atque in fanis marinorum 
deorum ponere. Sunt autem qui vestem quoque ibi suspendunt, Diis earn con- 
secrantes." Vet. Schol. B. 

t "Notum est," says a commentator on this passage, "naufragos ad com- 
movendam popuh misericordiam infortunium suum tabella depictum humeris 

t " Gladiatores in tutela erant Herculis. Amphitheatres, vel sacella Herculis 
adjuncta, vel tota fuisse instar templorum Herculis. Htc igitur figunt arma 
gladiatores. " Scholiast. 

Ancient Roman Customs. 229 

In order to explain the last line of the preceding quotation, it 
should be stated that, in the fights of the gladiators, when one of 
them wounded his antagonist, he shouted " Hoc habet," or " Habet," 
"He has it." The wounded combatant dropped his weapon, and ad- 
vancing to the edge of t/ie arena,* or stage of the amphitheatre, he 
supplicated the spectators. If he had fought well, the people saved 
him ; if otherwise, or as they happened to be inclined, they turned 
down their thumbs, and he was slain. A ceremony in some measure 
similar to this is observed at the Spanish bull-fights with respect to 
the slaughtering of the bulls by the matadores (see Hobhouse's notes 
on "Childe Harold," Canto iv. St. cxlii.) The raising or compression 
of the thumbs was, among the Romans, the usual method of express- 
ing approbation or disapprobation : 

"Fautor utroque tuun. laudabit pollice ludum." 

HORACE, Book i., Epist. xviii., 66. 

When the gladiators were dismissed from the stage, they were pre- 
sented with a wooden foil called rudis, or the foil of freedom. Horace, 
speaking of himself as a worn-out gladiator, says, in his epistle to 

"Spectatum satis, et donatum jam rude, quseris, 
Maecenas, iteruin antique me includere ludo." 

Book i., Epist. i., 2, 3. 

The R.omans were accustomed to hang up their arms in the temples 
of their divinities, especially in those of Jupiter Capitolinus and Mars : 

" Denique scevam 

Militiam puer, et Cantahrica bella tulisti 
Sub duce, qui templis Parthornm signa refixit." 

HORACE, Book i., Epist. xviii., 54-56. 
" Tua, Ccesar, setas 
Fruges et agris retulit uberes ; 
Et signa nostra restituit Jovi, 
Derepta Parthorum superbis 
Postibus" HORACE, Book iv., Ode xv., 4-8. 

" Signa ego Funicis 
Affixa delubris, et arma 
Militibus sive exile, dixit 
Derepta vidi." HORACE, Book iii., Ode v., 18-21. f 

"Nunc arma, deCunctumque bello 
Barbiton hie paries habebit." 
.... " Hie, htc ponitc lucida 
Funalia, et vectes, et areas 
(Jppositis foribiis minaces." 

HORACE, Book iii., Ode xxvi., 2-7.^ 

* The arena was so called because it was strewed with sand, to prevent its 
becoming slippery, and to absorb the blood of the combatants. 

t Templo Martis Ultoris, ad earn rem condito, illata signa ista Punica." 

J " Notum est veteres, cum artem aliquam dimitterent, instrumenta ejus artis 
Deo, in cujus tuteia fuerant, suspendere consuevisse. In superiore templorum 
parte, parieteque australi, anathemata pendebant." Scholiast.. 

Ciistoms of Foreign Countries. 

' ' Quamvis clypeo Trojano refixo* 
Tempera testatus, nihil ultra 
Nervos atque cutem morti concesserat atrae." 

HORACE, Book i., Ode xxviii., 11-13. 

Even in modern times it is customary to hang up in cathedrals and 
churches the flags, banners, and arms which have been captured from 
the enemy in the course of warfare as memorials and trophies of 

The sacred shields of the Romans were called ancilia, one of 
which, according to tradition, having been sent from heaven, was a 
token of empire being established at Rome ; and, in order that it 
might not be stolen, Numa Pompilius caused eleven others to be 
forged exactly like it, and to be kept in the temple of Mars. 

"Marsus et Appulus, 
Anciliorum, nominis, et togae 
Oblitus, a-terna-que Vests, 

lucolumi Jove, et urbe Roma," 

HORACE, Book iii., Ode v., 9. 

The Romans were also in the habit of presenting their manuscripts 
to their divinities, especially to the Palatine Apollo, whose temple was 
the Augustan repository for the writings and effigies of men of genius : 

"Bealus Fannius, ultro 
Delatis caps is et imagine." 

HORACE, Book, i., Sat. iv., 21, 22. 

The Pantheon at Rome, so denominated from being dedicated by 
the Romans to all the divinities of the heathen mythology, contained 
their statues, busts, and other ornaments of sculpture which were 
considered sacred. It has since been made the receptacle for the 
busts of distinguished men of modern times. This temple passed 
with little alteration from the pagan into the present worship ; and so 
convenient were its niches for the Christian altar, that Michael 
Angelo, ever studious of ancient beauty, introduced their design as a 
model in the Catholic church. (See Forsyth's "Letters on Italy;" 
Lord Byron's " Childe Harold," Canto iv., st. cxlvi., etc. ; and Hob- 
house's "Notes.") 

The Romans also placed in their temples statues of the various 
animals and objects connected by tradition or otherwise with the 
foundation of their city. The celebrated images of the wolf which 
suckled Romulus and Remus were kept, one in the temple of Romulus 
under the Palatine, and the other in the Capitol. The buildings of 
modern Sienna abound with images of the Roman wolf. 

The Roman matrons were accustomed to carry their sick infants to 
the temple of Romulus, and, after the worship of the founder of 
Rome was abandoned, to the church of St. Theodore, erected on its 
site. The practice is continued to this day. L. R. F. 

* Subintell, "<5 templo." 

An Etruscan Marriage. 231 

An Etruscan Marriage : the Game of Pentalitha. 

[1804, Part I., p. 121.] 

The plate which accompanies this is from the " Collectanea de 
Rebus Hibernicis," copied from the Memoirs of the Etruscan Academy 
of Cortona, and explained by General Vallancey to represent a mar- 
riage. In the front is a sorceress casting the five stones. The writer 
of the memoir justly thinks she is divining : the figure exactly corre- 
sponds with the first and principal cast of the Irish purin ; all five 
are cast up, and the first catch is on the back of the hand : on the 
back of the hand stands one, and the remaining four on the ground 
opposite. The sorceress is the matron attentive to the success of the 
cast. In the royal edition of the " Antichi Monument! di Erculano,"* 
vol. ii., is the copy of another marriage, and by the same hand 
Alexandros Athanaios.f The attitudes of the figures differ from the 
former, and the sorceress is casting five small bones ; one is on the 
back of the hand, two in the action of falling, and two on the ground 
(pi. iii.). The author informs us the Etruscans named this kind of 
divination " Alleosso," and " Talloni ;" in the Ail-asse stones of 
divination, Tail-on or J)ctll-on has the same meaning. This had 
dwindled into a game with the Grecian women, and a description of 
it by Julius Pollux in his "Onomasticon," under the name of "Penta- 
litha ;" but from Valerius we may learn it was a species of divination. 
No marriage ceremony was performed without consulting the Druidess 
and her Purin. J Now without following the train of deduction from 
Irish to Grecian customs, or affirming that the suitors of Penelope 
amusing themselves with playing Tnaaoi before the door of the house, 
or rather in the porch, merely to kill the time, had the smallest refer- 
ence to marriage ceremonies, the other antient painting here referred 
to is engraved in your vol. xlvii. , p. 216,-$ and represents perhaps the 
game of pentalitha, played by five young females, one of v,'\\am joins 
hands with a woman, who in the Etruscan painting appears to be a 
man, and therefore suggested the idea of a marriage.\ Your corre- 
spondent [see note 38] mistakes when he says two of the names of the 
ladies point to one person, for each has her distinct name. Leto, 
Niobe, and Phoebe belong to the three standing ; Aglaia and Ilearia 
to the two sitting figures ; all of them nearly of an age ; so that it 

* See it also in David's " Antiq. de Ilerculcmeum," vol. i., plate iii. 

+ We are not told the name of the painter of the foregoing. 

J Valerius Maximus, ii. I, says: "Nuptiis etiam auspices interponunlur." Juvenal, 
Sat, x.,33&, has: "Venient cum signatories auspices." "Auspices solebant nuptiis 
interesse" Juvenal, .Sat. xi., 330. [This last quotation is not in Juvenal.) 

See also vol. xxix., p. 583. 

|| There was a painting by 1'olycletus of two children playing at this game; and 
by Polygnotus at Delphi of the two daughters of Patidarus crowned with flowers, 
and playing acrrpayaXoic. Pausan. J'/ioc., c. 30. [See Smith's Class. Diet., s. v. 

232 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

would be difficult to find a witch among them, if witches were old 
and ugly. Pollux expressly calls KinraXtioi a woman's game ; five 
little stones, pebbles, or bones were thrown up in the air from the 
palm of the hand and caught on the back, and those which missed 
were picked up off the ground as here. But where once a favourite 
hypothesis occupies a writer's mind, it bewitches him, and vague con- 
jecture is supported by vague citation as in the instance before us. 

G. G. 

Wedding the Adriatic. 

[i 764, / 483-] 

The most ridiculous, though perhaps the most pompous, show in the 
world is that 'of the annual ceremony of the Doge's marrying the sea. 
It is said to have taken its rise from a grant of Pope Alexander III., 
who, as a reward for the zeal of the inhabitants in his restoration to the 
Papal chair, gave them power over the Adriatic ocean, as a man hath 
power over his wife ; in memory of which the chief magistrate annually 
throws a ring into it, with these words : " Desponsamus te, Mare, in 
signum perpetui dominii" " We espouse thee, O Sea, in testimony 
of our perpetual dominion over thee." 

[1784, Part II., p. 625.] 

Venice, June 10 : The ceremony of wedding the Adriatic was the 
most magnificent ever seen here in the coilrse of the present century; 
there were more than a hundred gondolas on the water on this 
occasion, which, with the men-of-war, etc., made a most splendid 

[1824, Part II., pp. 344, 345.] 

Among the festivals of Venice may be numbered the celebrated 
Marriage of the Sea, which isrthus described : "Its numerous festivals 
rendered Venice one of the most interesting cities in the universe. 
Amongst others, there were those of Santa Marta, San Rocco, il 
Redentore, la Saluta, San Marco, Corpus Domini, and the Assenzione; 
on the latter of which days the Doge used to go to Lido, a small 
island two miles from Venice, near the entrance of the Adriatic, for 
the purpose of espousing that sea, in the Bucentoro, a vessel some- 
what resembling the ancient Greek and Roman galleys. It was richly 
carved, and covered with fine gold in basso relievo, lined with the 
richest crimson silk-velvet, trimmed with gold fringe and tassels, and 
furnished in the most elegant and costly manner, with beautiful 
Venetian mirrors, crystal-cut ornaments, large pier-glass windows, 
with Venetian blinds and crimson silk curtains. It used to be towed 
out by a number of the barcajouoli, richly dressed in the ancient 
Venetian costume, with caps and sashes of different colours, all bear- 

Wedding the Adriatic, 233 

ing the Doge's livery. The Doge was habited in his ducal robes, his 
coronet, and the other insignia of his high office. The whole body 
of the senators, with their wives and families, magnificently attired, 
joined the procession in gondolas, together with all the foreign 
ministers, and often a hundred thousand persons, coming not only 
from the Terra Firma, but from the extremity of Italy, and even of 
Europe ; so that the water, from the ducal palace of the Piazetta to 
Lido, was actually covered with boats, filled with youth and beauty, 
in all their most seductive shapes and appearances, forming an entire 
carpet of boats of all descriptions ; besides peottis, in the shape of 
ancient temples and triumphal cars, representing the courts of Jupiter, 
Venus, Mars, Bacchus, Apollo, together with Neptune, and the rest 
of the marine deities ; so that it was scarcely possible to discover a 
foot of water. The ceremony was called the ' Marriage of the Sea.' 
The Doge, on his arrival at the mouth of the harbour, came on deck, 
and, being surrounded by the Senate, he took from his finger a gold 
ring, and, throwing it into the sea, he pronounced these words : 
'Desponsamus te, Mare! in signum veri perpetuique dominii ;' that 
is, ' We espouse thee, O Sea ! in token of real and perpetual 
dominion.' The Doge and Senate then returned in the same order 
to the ducal palace, where a sumptuous banquet was prepared, con- 
sisting of all the delicacies of the season ; and at the close of which 
each senator was presented with a large tray, or basket, filled with 
the choicest fruits and sweetmeats, to take home to his family. 
This was indeed a day of festivity and triumph for the Venetians, 
and turned out highly lucrative to all classes of the inhabitants." 
[Whittaker's Venice under France and Austria, 1824.] 

The Bite of the Tarantula. 

[i 753, // 433. 434-] 

According to your desire I send you an account of the effect the 
bite of a tarantula has upon the human body. I shall only give a dis- 
tinct detail of all the circumstances that I have seen, having once been 
instrumental at the cure ot a poor plowman that was bit by that insect 
I'll not undertake to give you any account of the tarantula itself, being 
sure you are perfectly well acquainted with it. I shall only tell you 
what has happened in my country at a small village called La Torre 
della Annunziala, about ten miles from Naples, where I was at the 
time the affair I am going to relate happened. 

It was in the month of October, a season of the year when all the 
students in Naples that have any relations in the country have leave 
to visit them. I was one of those that enjoyed the privilege of visiting 
the place of my nativity, and as I was then studying music in the 
college of Naples, generally (whenever I went into the country) 
brought my violin with me. 

234 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

It happened one day that a poor man was taken ill in the street, 
and it was soon known to be the effect of the tarantula, because the 
country people have some undoubted signs to know it, and particu- 
larly (they say) that the tarantula bites on the tip or under lip of one's 
ear, because the tarantula bites one when sleeping on the ground ; 
and the wounded part becomes black, which happens three days after 
one is bit, exactly at the hour of the hurt received ; and they further 
assert, that if no one was to undertake to cure him he would feel the 
effect of it every day at the same hour for the space of three or four 
hours, till it would throw him into such madness as to destroy him 
in about a month's time ; some (they say) have lived three months 
after they have been bit ; but the latter I cannot believe, because it 
never happens that any man is suffered to die by such distemper, the 
priest of the parish being obliged to play on the fiddle in order to cure 
them ; and it has not been known, in the memory of man, that any 
one is dead of it ; but to proceed. 

A poor man was taken ill in a street (as I said before), and as the 
priest was out of the way, several gentlemen begg'd of me to play for 
that poor fellow. I could not help going, without offending a number 
of friends. When I was there, I saw a man stretched on the ground, 
who scem'd as if he was just a-going to expire. The people at the 
sight of me cried out, "Play play the tarantella!" (which is a tune 
made use of on such occasions). It happen'd that I had never heard 
that tune, consequently couldn't play it. I asked what sort of tune 
it was. They answer'd that it was a kind of jigg. I try'd several 
jiggs, but to no purpose, for the man was as motionless as before. 
The people still called out for the tarantella. I told them I could 
not. play it, but if any would sing it, I would learn it immediately. 
An old woman presented herself to me to do the good office, who 
sung it in such an unintelligible sound of voice, that I could not form 
an idea of it. But another woman came, and helped me to learn it, 
which I did in about ten minutes' time, being a short one. But you 
must observe that while I was a learning the tune, and happened to 
feel the strain of the first two barrs, the man began to move accord- 
ingly, and got up as quick as lightning, and seem'd as if he had been 
awaken'd by some frightful vision, and wildly star'd about, still moving 
every joint of his body ; but as I had not as yet learn'd the whole 
tune, I left off playing, not thinking that it would have any effect on 
the man. But the instant I left off playing, the man fell down, and 
cried out very loud, and distorted his face, legs, arms, and any other 
part of his body, scraped the earth with his hands, and was in such 
contortions that clearly indicated him to be in miserable agonies. I 
was frighted out of my wits, and made all the haste I could to learn 
the rest of the tune ; which done, I play'd near him I mean about 
four yards from him. The instant he heard me, he rose up as he did 
before, and danced as hard as any man could do. His dancing was 

The Bite of the Tarantula. 235 

very wild he kept a perfect time in the dance, but had neither rules 
nor manners, only jumped, and runned, to and from, made very 
comical postures, something like the Chinese dances we have some- 
times seen on the stage, and otherwise everything was very wild of 
what he did. He sweated all over, and then the people cried out, 
" Faster ! faster !" meaning that I should give a quicker motion to the 
tune, which I did so quick, that 1 could hardly keep up playing, and 
the man still danced in time. I was very much fatigued, and though 
I had several persons behind me, some drying the sweat from my 
face, others blowing with a fan to keep me cool (for it was about two 
o'clock in the afternoon), others distancing the people, that they might 
not throng about me, and yet notwithstanding all this, I suffered a 
long patience to keep up such long time, for I played (without ex- 
aggeration) above two hours, without the least interval. 

When the man had danced about an hour, the people gave him 
a naked sword, which he applied with the point in the palm of his 
hands, and made the sword jump from one hnnd into the other, which 
sword he held in equilibrium, and he kept still dancing. The people 
knew he wanted a sword, because a little before he got it he scratched 
his hands very hard, as if he would tear the flesh from them. 

When he had well pricked his hands, he got hold of the sword 
by the handle, and pricked also the upper part of his feet, and in 
about fj,ve minutes' time his hands and feet bled in great abundance. 
He continued to use the sword for about a quarter of an hour, some- 
times pricking his hands and sometimes his ftet, with little or no 
intermission ; and he threw it away, and kept on dancing. 

When he was quite spent with fatigue, his motion began to grow 
slower; but the people begg'd of me to keep up the same time, and 
as he could not dance accordingly, he only moved his body and kept 
time ; at last, after two hours' dancing, fell down quite motionless, 
and I gave over playing. The people took him up, and carried him 
into a house, and put him into a large tub of tepid water, and a 
surgeon bled him. While he was a-bathing, he was let blood in both 
his hands and feet, and they took from him a great quantity of blood. 
After they had tyed up the orifices, put him in a bed, and gave him 
a cordial, which they forced down, because the man kept his teeth 
very close. About 5 minutes after, he sweated a great deal, and fell 
asleep, which he did for five or six hours. When he awakened, was 
perfectly well, only weak for the great loss of blood he had sustained, 
and four days after, he was entirely recover'd ; for I saw him walk in 
the streets, and what is remarkable, that he hardly remembered any- 
thing of what was happened to him. He never felt any other pains 
since, nor any one does, except they are bit again by the tarantula. 

This is what I know of the tarantula, which I hope will satisfy 
your curiosity ; and as you are a great philosopher, may philosofy as 
you please. I need not make any apology for my bad writing ; you 

236 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

must excuse it, considering that it was only to obey your commands : 
if you have any other, you may dispose of, 

Your most humble servant, 


[1754, //. 69, 70.] 

The effects of the bite of the tarantula, and the cure of them by 
music, are so wonderful that many have doubted whether the accounts 
of them were true. They have, indeed, for the most part been related 
in general terms, and therefore, as they have wanted the circumstances 
necessary to distinguish them as different facts, they have not often 
been confirmed by the force of concurrent testimony ; for this reason 
I was much pleased with the account printed from the letter of an 
Italian gentleman in your magazine (see vol. xxiii., p. 433), in which 
particular circumstances are preserved. As a supplement to that 
account I send you two others, which appear to be signally authentic, 
though they are more extraordinary, the disease being such as music 
has not been reported to cure. They are extracted from the history 
of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris. 

A gentleman whose profession was music, and who excelled both 
in manual performance and composition, was seized with a fever, 
which on the seventh day brought on a delirium, attended not only 
with perpetual wakefulness, but such inquietude and horror that he 
frequently shrieked aloud, lamented himself in the most passionate 
exclamations, and wept in an agony of distress. On the third day of 
his delirium, whether he was prompted by that instinct which directs 
irrational animals to eat such herbs when they are sick as are best 
adapted to cure them, or whether merely by a sense of misery and a 
desire of that which had been used to please him, he requested of his 
physician that he might be permitted to have a little concert in his 
chamber. This request, after much consideration, and not without 
some reluctance, was granted ; before the first strain was played his 
countenance became placid and serene, his eyes, which had been 
haggard and wild, overflowed with tears of joy, his whole demeanour 
was gentle and composed, and his fever itself was suspended. This, 
however, was only a temporary relief, for the moment the music ceased 
all his disorders returned with the same violence as before ; the 
remedy was again supplied with equal success, and music was found 
to be so necessary that his kinswoman who sat up with him was not 
only obliged to sing, but to dance. It happed that he was one 
night left alone with his nurse, who could no otherwise gratify his 
desire of music than by singing a despicable ballad, which was not, 
however, totally without effect ; by degrees the relief which he obtained 
by the repatition of so uncommon a remedy became more lasting, his 
intervals were longer, and his paroxysms less violent ; and in about 

The Bite of the Tarantula. 237 

ten days he was perfectly cured, without any assistance either from 
surgery or physic, except that, having been before blooded in the foot, 
the operation was once repeated. 

A dancing-master of Alais, in Languedoc, having suffered excessive 
fatigue during the Carnival in 1708, was seized with a fever in the be- 
ginning of Lent, and on the fifth day fell into a lethargy ; the lethargy, 
which lasted a considerable time, was succeeded by a violent delirium, 
in which, though he did not speak, yet all his gestures were furious 
and menacing ; he made continual efforts to get out of bed, and 
refused all medicines by the most expressive signs of rage and abhor- 
rence. M. Mandajor, a gentleman of probity and understanding who 
relates the case, conceived a sudden thought that music might pos- 
sibly contribute to soothe an imagination over which reason had lost 
its power ; he therefore proposed it to the physician, who did not dis- 
approve the experiment, but would not venture to advise it, lest it 
should expose him to ridicule, especially if the patient, of whose life 
he despaired, should happen to die during the application of so 
strange a remedy. A friend who was present at this consultation, 
and had no medical reputation to lose, immediately catched up a 
violin and began to play ; the people, who were with all their force 
holding the patient in bed, thought the musician the maddest of the 
two, and finding he would not desist, began to resent his behaviour 
with opprobrious language ; the patient, however, instantly started up, 
as if he had been agreeably surprised by the sound, and used all his 
efforts to keep time with his arms and his body ; and tho' he was 
held with so much force that he could scarce move, yet he continued 
his attempts, which still corresponded with the music, and he signified 
his pleasure by the motion of his head. This was at length perceived 
by those who held him, who, remitting their grasp by degrees, suffered 
him to produce the motions that he attempted, and having regularly 
continued them about twenty minutes, he fell into a deep sleep, from 
which he awaked without the return of any dangerous symptom, and 
soon after perfectly recovered. A. Z. 

Cross Day at Corfu. 

[1822, Part I., pp. 485 486.] 

Having received a letter from my young correspondent at Malta, 
after his arrival from Corfu, I send you some extracts. 

" The 3rd of May. This day is termed Cross Day, as I was told 
by one of the attendants who could speak a little English. About five 
o'clock all the bells in Valetta and elsewhere began to make the most 
horrid jingling I ever heard. A procession of the priests, etc., went 
through the streets. About this time the Maltese were ready to receive 
them on their knees, repeating some prayer as they passed by them. 
I will endeavour to describe the procession : first came four or five 

238 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

shabby fellows with drums and a fife, and then after them about a 
hundred priests of the lower order, dressed in black gowns, with a 
white cross on their left breasts, with black masks on, and long wax 
candles lighted, and a number of little boys and girls continually run- 
ning through the ranks to catch the wax as it fell, thinking it a remedy 
for all evils ; then came a statue of a knight on a pedestal, borne by 
four men in black (which was intended to represent our Saviour) ; 
then the priests of higher order than the former, consisting of the 
same number as before, with black gowns and candles, but no masks, 
some with two crosses on their breasts, and a large silver cross like that 
which knights of Malta used formerly to wear ; then came others carry- 
ing a sort of lantherns on long poles, and some singers who preceded a 
number of them, bearing an immense large cross, mounted on a pedestal 
of beautiful white marble ; the cross was of polished wood, elegantly 
bound and inlaid with gold and silver ; then followed a number of 
canons, or, I believe, bishops, who were dressed in black silk gowns, 
with beautiful worked muslin round their waists, and ruffles with 
muslin sleeves, and a band of music consisting of a dozen men, three 
little children dressed like angels with wings, and one like Julius 
Csesar (but I cannot say whom he was to represent), and a number of 
young priests dressed in white with lighted candles, chanting hymns 
as they went along, in which the people every now and then joined 
chorus ; and, lastly, two little boys dressed in white, with black sleeves, 
who scattered incense before a canopy borne by six men, under which 
were three gentlemen of the Catholic Church. I could not very well 
distinguish their dresses, but they appeared to me to be dressed like 
the heralds that proclaimed the King's coronation. The middle one 
carried a small wafer or cake, which, having been consecrated by the 
bishop, is supposed to represent the Saviour, and is enclosed in a gold 
or silver box, which is called the Host : as this passed by the people 
all knelt down. The multitude that followed was very great, all eager 
to touch the person who carried the Host, and repeated some prayer. 
The principal thing they carried was the statue representing the Virgin 
Mary, dressed in a silk gown, with a child in her arms and a handful 
of flowers." 

Cries of Paris in the Thirteenth Century. 

[1826, Part //., //. 387-389.] 

As many of your readers are, like myself, fond of investigating the 
habits and usages of former times, not only those which more par- 
ticularly partake of a public and general nature, but also those which 
relate to the private economy, the food, the clothing, and the everyday 
mode of life of our ancestors to such I may be allowed to hope the 
following notice of some of the principal "cries" in the streets of Paris in 
the thirteenth century will not prove uninteresting. Had they been of 

Cries of Paris in the Thirteenth Century. 239 

London instead of its rival capital they would have possessed for us a 
far greater degree of value, and would long ago have received a full 
illustration from some one of the eminent antiquaries whose names 
are so thickly scattered over the volumes of your well-known mis- 
cellany. Still they have many claims to our attention as Englishmen, 
for no one acquainted with our early domestic history can be ignorant 
of the great similarity between the customs of the two nations, examples 
demonstrative of which are continually recurring in the phrases and 
words of our more ancient writers. This piece, containing the above 
" cries," is published in Meon's edition of " Barbazan Fabliaux," [1823] 
and consists of near two hundred lines, composed in the latter half of 
the I3th century by one Guillaume de la Villeneuve. The subject, as 
is immediately perceived, is not one propitious to the graces of poetry, 
but the curious details, however, afford far more satisfaction than 
many of the more polished but exceptionable compositions in the same 
collection. Add to this, the author, from his own confession, is 
weighed down by that nightmare of genius, poverty, which forces him 
to compose this " Dit." So oppressed is he, that he knows not where 
to turn, or what to do ; the fickle goddess Fortune, of whom Chaucer 
observes almost in the very words of Guillaume,* 

When that a wight is from her whele ythrowe, 

Than laugheth she, and maketh him the mowe," 

has deserted only to deride him. 

As the articles enumerated in the poem are in no particular order, 
I will first collect together those of a similar nature, and then notice 
the more miscellaneous ones. 

Of fish, white meats, and condiments, he specifies fresh and 
powdered or salted herrings ; whitings ; Champaigne and Brie cheeses, 
still, I believe, celebrated in France ; fresh butter, eggs, milk, nut-oil, 
different vinegars, vinegar mixed with mustard, verjuice, pepper, 
anise, used for seasoning cake or bread. 

Of vegetables turnips, leeks, watercresses, fresh lettuce, garlic, onions, 
peas in the husk, new beans, chervell, mushrooms, chives, hot mashed 
peas and hot beans, pounded wheat, r?/c/, and lurmenty (formenf). 

The last of these was not exactly what we understand by furmenty, 
which in former days (and I believe in some parts of the country is 
still) was a portion of wheat grains, softened and boiled with milk, 
spices, sugar, raisins, etc. ; but the wheat, dried, cleansed, and broken 
into coarse grits, was used for thickening soups or porridge. The 
gruel was barley pilled, and in the state we now use it for culinary 
purposes. Grudum in Low Latin, and gru in Romane French, is the 
appellation for barley, and hence is derived the name giveji to the 

* Fortune m'a mis en sa roe, 
Chacun me gabe et fet la moe. 

240 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

prepared grain as above. The same term was also sometimes applied 
to a like preparation of oats, and is familiar to our language in "gruel," 
a sort of thin porridge made of oatmeal. 

Of fruits peaches, apples, cherries, pears of Hastiveau and Chail- 
lou, the latter a famous species, noticed in the " Roman de la Rose," 
and doubtless is the fruit intended by Chaucer, although the corrupted 
expression Caleweis is in the text of his translation ; lote berries, the 
fruit of the lotus rhamnus ; sloes, still gathered by our country people 
and stewed with sugar ; hips of the wild rose, which I have often, 
when a schoolboy, devoured with no little gusto ; medlars ; sorb- 
apples, in France considered not inferior, when properly ripe, to the 
medlar ; nuts ; chesnuts of Lombardy ; figs from Malta ; foreign 
raisins ; and jorroises, which Cotgrave explains a horse-plum, and the 
writer of the short notes appended to the poem a long red fruit, very 
sour, and no more known in Paris. Du Cange has jarrossia, which, 
however, is only a sort of vetch. 

In confectionary, or rather what the French call patisseries pasties, 
tarts, cakes, wafers, gaieties, all hot ; roinssoles, cakes called gastiaus 
rastis, hot flauns, wafers named renforcies, simnels, and cakes with the 

Of these the galette was a sort of "wreathed cake," or crumpet ; the 
roinssole, in modern French rissole, a small delicate patty of minced 
meat, and semicircular in form ; it appears to have been a favourite 
dish, and Le Grand d'Aussy mentions several old statutes ordaining 
the various kinds of meat to be used. The gastiaus rastis were perhaps 
the same as described by Cotgrave under rastou as a round and high 
tart, made of butter, cheese, and eggs. The flaun, frequently met 
with in our writers of the i6th and I7th century, was a sort of delicate 
custard, or mixture of cream with bottom and sides of paste. The 
wafer, by far the greatest favourite of the French, and common over 
Europe, was probably of Grecian or Roman origin, and was early known 
in the middle ages by the name oblatae, the term given to the holy 
cakes used in the Eucharist. Hence the French oublie, which in that 
language, as well as wafer in our own, denotes both the consecrated 
and the common cake. In form it was round and thin, and baked, 
as the eucharistal one, between two flat hot irons, shutting together 
by a pivot, and ornamented inside, so as to leave the impression on the 
cake. The sellers of oublies, or waferers, were early formed into a society, 
for the regulation of which statutes were repeatedly made. Their busi- 
ness was most extensive. In 1406 it was decreed that no one should 
exercise the trade who could not make 500 daily, besides as many 
smaller cakes. They perambulated the streets in the evening, and 
were frequently the victims of the pranks and brutality of the rakes of 
the day. Guillaume notices this, and says you may hear them cry 
out, " I am undone," " Help, for God's sake," " I am murdered." 
From their numbers, however, and other causes, they gradually became 

Cries of Paris in the Thirteenth Century. 241 

a nuisance. Designing persons, thieves, and villains took up the oc- 
cupation as a cloak for dishonest practices, robbery, intrigue, etc. 
They were accordingly abolished by law in 1725. The suspicious 
character of the venders of wafers, both male and female, is often 
alluded to by our early poets. Thus in Chaucer, " Singers with 
harpes, baudes, wafereres," and by the author of " Piers Plowman " 
a " wafrestre " is placed in company with a " kittepors " and an 
" apewarde." 

Beaumont and Fletcher notice their turn for intrigue, for which the 
universal fondness for the cake afforded them ample opportunity. 

11 'Twas no set meeting 

Certainly, for there was no wafer-woman with her, 
These three days, on my knowledge." Woman Hater, ii., I. 

The oublies renforcies are supposed to have been the same as the 
gaitffre, a delicacy baked in irons like the wafer, but partaking more of 
the consistency of a thick pancake. I know not whether it is common 
in this country, but in America I believe it is, where it goes by the 
name of waffle, from the Dutch waefd, a wafer, flat cake, etc. 

The simnels were either rolls or small loaves of the finest flour, or 
else cakes of the same flour, but seasoned and sweetened. Of the 
first kind were those probably mentioned by Holinshed as forming 
part of the livery to the King of Scots when on a visit to Richard I. 
in 1194. " Twelve manchet wastels, twelve manchet simnels." This 
is the Panis de Simenel of Du Cange. Of the second was the cake in 
Herrick's allusion to the custom of going " a mothering." 

" I'le to thee a simiiell bring, 
'Gainst thou go'st a-mothering." 

The gustel a five, or cake with the lean, was, as is well known, the 
indispensable accompaniment of Twelfth Night ; he in whose piece 
the bean, which had previously been inserted in the dough, was found, 
being chosen king over the festivities and mirth of the evening. With 
us it was frequently the custom to add a pea, which falling to a lady, 
gave her the rights of queen. Thus in Nichols's " Progresses of 
Queen Elizabeth," one of the characters, in an entertainment given 
to her Majesty, is made to say, " Cut the cake : who hath the beane 
shall be King ; and where the peaze is, she shall be Queene." Ac- 
cording to Le Grand d'Aussy ("Vie Privde des Frangais," vii. 277), 
the bean-cake in France was not exclusively the attendant of Twelfth 
Night, but was also introduced at other times, for the purpose of in- 
creasing the gaiety of the party. 

Fresh rushes, rushes of the iris, straw, grass these were all for 
strewing over the floors of the houses and churches, and long con- 
tinued to be the substitute for carpets or matting. In some parts of 
Lancashire they still keep up the custom, on certain days in the year, 
of scattering rushes in the church [see Note 39]. 

VOL. IV. 1 6 

242 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

Surcoats, hats, copes ; buyers of old hose and shoes, old pots, 
shovels, old iron in exchange for needles; renovators of mantles, 
furred cloaks, coats, and surcoats ; menders of tubs, cups, benches, 
hutches (chests used as safes, or for keeping corn, etc., in) ; scourers 
of tin pots ; criers at different stations of the proclamations of the 
King, Louis IX. ; criers of the dead. 

Of these last singular personages, the poet observes, " Whenever a 
man or woman has died, you will hear them with a bell along the 
streets cry out, ' Pray for his soul !' " In a note on this passage, in 
"La Vie Prive'e des Franais," v. n, 411, M. de Roquefort gives the 
following illustration of the custom : " These criers had, moreover, 
a particular costume, a white Dalmatic, covered with death's heads, 
bones, and black-coloured tear-drops. In some of our northern 
provinces they made use of a basin or small kettle, which they beat 
with a stick. The custom was still kept up in several cities, towns, 
and villages, before the events of 1789. As soon as a person died, 
a man in the official character of crier perambulated all night the 
streets, ringing a bell, and stopping at the corners, where he cried out 
in a mournful tone, ' Awake, awake, good people who sleep ! awake, 
and pray God for the departed !' At the funeral of Louis XII., who 
died the first of January, 1515, the criers ringing their bells exclaimed, 
' The good King Louis XII., the father of his people, is dead : pray 
God for him !' " A custom somewhat similar once existed in Scot- 
land, and is mentioned in the "Popular Antiquities," vol. ii., p. 128, 
from Sir John Sinclair's " Statistical Survey." 

For firing, a sort of turf made of the old bark-peelings, etc., of the 
tannery ; fire logs ; charcoal, a penny the sack. For light, candles 
with cotton wicks ; prepared rushes for lamps. 

Amongst the remaining miscellaneous articles are pigeons, birch- 
brooms, mats, wooden hoops, hot baths, Noels or Christmas Carols, 
various wines. 

The cry of the " Bath " was probably merely a person who held 
forth the merits of some particular establishment, as it is difficult to 
imagine a machine large enough for the purpose would have been 
suffered in the streets. The Noels M. Barbazan supposes to have 
been books, containing a collection of carols ; but it appears to me 
more probable that men or women are only meant, who gained their 
living by singing them. The Noel was not confined to the season of 
Christmas, but the burden " Noel ! Noel !" as an exclamation of joy, 
was used in songs on any great subject of rejoicing. 

If to these various " cries " we add those of the different orders of 
begging friars, who endeavoured to outvie each other in their vocife- 
rations for bread, we may form some idea of the discordant sounds 
and busy appearance of the thoroughfares of Paris in the thirteenth 
century ; a noise and throng which, the poet says, lasted from day- 
break to midnight, and which served to draw the attention of the 

Royal Marriage Custom in France. 243 

passenger to such a multiplicity of objects, that were one only to 
purchase a portion of each man's merchandise, a large fortune would 
soon be dissipated. H. 

Royal Marriage Custom in France. 

[i 77, A 274-] 

May 1 6. The ceremony of the nuptials of the Dauphin and 
Dauphiness was performed at the Chapel Royal at Versailles by the 
Archbishop of Rheims. After supper, the King having conducted 
their Highnesses to their apartment, and the benediction of the bed 
having been made by the Archbishop, the King delivered the shirt to 
the Dauphin, and the Duchess of Chatres performed the same office 
to the Dauphiness. 

Witchcraft in France. 

[1731. / 358-1 

Paris, August 24. The Tournelle condemn'd a woman of Mor- 
tagne to be hang'd, for having burnt the crown of a man's head and 
the soles of his feet, of which he died (see p. 30). She acted thus, 
being persuaded by a cunning man that he had bewitched her hus- 
band. Great interest is making to get her sentence commuted, the 
fact proceeding from conjugal affection [see Note 40]. 

Account of a Singular Custom kept up for many Years, 
and still Prevailing in Picardy. 

[1781, pp. 512, 513-] 

(From the Countess de Genlis's " Theatre of Education.'''' [London, 
1781, 4 vols.]) 

There is still a part of the world where simple genuine virtue 
receives public honours ; it is in a village of Picardy a place far 
distant from the politeness and luxury of great cities. There an 
affecting ceremony, which draws tears from the spectator, a solemnity 
awful from its venerable antiquity and salutary influence, has been pre- 
served, notwithstanding the revolutions of twelve centuries ; there, the 
simple lustre of the flowers, with which innocence is annually crowned, 
is at once the reward, the encouragement, and the emblem 

According to a tradition handed down from age to age, St. Medard, 
born at Salencj, proprietor, rather than lord, of the territory of 
Salengy (for there were no fiefs at that time), was the institutor of 
that charming festival which has made virtue flourish for so many 
ages. He had himself the pleasing consolation of enjoying the fruit 
of his wisdom, and his family was honoured with the prize which he 
had instituted, for his sister obtained the crown of roses. 

This affecting and valuable festival has been transmitted from the 
fifth century to the present day. To this rose is attached a purity of 
morals, which from time immemorial has never suffered the slightest 

1 6 2 

244 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

blemish ; to this rose are attached the happiness, peace, and glory of 
the Salencjans.* 

Amusements of the Florentines. 

[i 764, pp. 433,434-] 

The most remarkable, and the most expensive diversion peculiar 
to the Florentines, is the Prindpi di Calcio. Here the flower of the 
Florentine youth divide into two parties, distinguished by the red 
and green, and each party chooses a prince eminent for birth and 
fortune. Each prince chooses officers of state, establishes a house- 
hold, and keeps a court ; receives and despatches ambassadors each 
o the other ; gives audience, appoints a privy council, who debate 
upon the serious affairs of state, the affronts received, or the offences 
given by each other's subjects, and the proper means of resenting or 
covering these offences. After some time spent in negotiation, in 
which all the forms of court policy are duly observed, war is at length 
resolved upon ; prisoners begin to be taken on both sides : these acts 
of violence are formally complained of, are owned or disavowed, 
according to the degree of evidence the enemy have to produce ; but 
at length out comes a declaration of war. This opens a new scene : 
the secretaries of state and of war are busy in procuring intelligence ; 
secret correspondences are established, and the private advices 
received are openly read at court. These are generally what may be 
called " Scandalous Chronicle," and contain satirical anecdotes, in 
which the characters of the principal persons in town are humorously 

taken off. The day on which the imaginary princes are to determine 

their differences by combat, is as eagerly expected as if the fate of 
kingdoms was to depend upon the decision. The battle is a game 
like football, with this difference, that the ball is struck by the hand 
instead of the foot. In a spacious place the boundaries are fixed on 
each side, a day is appointed, and the combatants, headed by their 
respective prince, and distinguished by the ribbon of their order, red 
or green, come to the place of rendezvous, all richly dressed, and 
mounted on the best horses that Italy affords. Being assembled, 
they march in military order over the ground, and then, ranging 
themselves in order, they dismount and take the field, amidst the 
acclamations of an inconceivable multitude of people, with trumpets, 
kettle-drums, and music. Then each party advancing near the 
middle of the ground, the ball is thrown up between them, and the 
engagement begins, in which great agility and dexterity is shown, and 
some hard blows given on both sides ; but no exceptions are to be 
taken, victory is to be determined by the ball, and whichever side 
is fortunate enough to press it over the bounds of the enemy, is 
instantly declared victorious. An universal shout ensues ; the 
conquered prince retires ; the other keeps the field, till, having 
recovered breath, and the disorder which the contest necessarily 

[* This communication is abridged.] 

Cormass Procession. 245 

occasions being over, the victors remount their horses, and march 
back to court in the same military order they advanced ; a most 
sumptuous entertainment is provided, and a ball given to the ladies 
at night, in which none but the victorious combatants are permitted 
to dance. Thus ends, about Shrovetide, an entertainment that 
employs the greatest families in Florence most part of the winter. 

Funeral Customs in Holland. 

[1772, /. 489.] 

The Prince Stadtholder of the United Provinces has abolished one 
species of luxury practised in Holland, and that was the extravagant 
entertainments given at the interment of the dead, which are now 
prohibited under penalties. 

Cormass Procession. 

[1759,/A 263-265.] 

When Dunkirk was under the dominion of Charles V., he found 
the people so turbulent and seditious that, in order to divert their 
attention from publick affairs, and furnish them with objects which 
should by turns keep them in expectation and make them busy, he 
invented several kinds of shows and processions which required great 
preparations, and were in the highest degree splendid and striking. 
Among these is one called the "Cormass," of which, though it is 
still continued, I do not know that any description is extant. I have 
therefore sent you a particular account of it, as I saw it in the year 
1755, for the entertainment of your readers, and am, etc., 

T. B. 

The Cormass is exhibited on St. John's Day, the 24th June; the 
morning, which when I saw the show was very fine, was ushered in 
with the ringing of bells, in a merry peal called the "Corillons;" the 
streets were double-lined very early with soldiers, and about eight 
o'clock were crowded with people. The houses were full from top 
to bottom, of persons of both sexes and all conditions, and the 
number of spectators could not be less than 40,000, exclusive of 
the inhabitants of the town. Every countenance expressed the utmost 
impatience and curiosity, and about half an-hour after ten the show 
began. After High Mass had been celebrated at the principal church, 
from which the procession was to be made, the townsmen, classed 
according to their different trades, like our livery companies, appeared 
first, walking two and two, with each a burning taper of wax in his 
hand, at least a yard long. They were dressed, not in gowns, but 
each in the best apparel he could procure, which was made in the 
fashion of their great-great-grandfathers, as they have a notion that the 
older the fashion of their cloaths, the greater is the dignity of their 
appearance. After each company came a pageant, containing an 

246 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

emblematical representation of its trade, such as were formerly used 
at our Lord Mayors' Shows, and the pageant was followed by the 
patron saint, most of which were of solid silver, finely wrought, and 
some were superbly adorned with jewels. 

The companies were followed by a concert of vocal and instru- 
mental musick, the choruses of which were extremely grand and 
solemn. After the musick came the fryars, or regular clergy, in the 
habits of their different orders, two and two. These were followed 
by the secular priests, according to their different degrees, two and 
two ; they marched in a slow solemn pace, with looks of great devo- 
tion, holding their heads and hands in an attitude of adoration. 
After the secular priests came the abbot, in a most magnificent dress 
richly adorned with silver and gold, the train of which was supported 
by two men drest like cardinals. The Host was borne before him by 
an old man, with a white beard, of a most venerable appearance ; a 
great number of boys in white surplices strewed frankincence and 
myrrh under his feet, and four men supported a large canopy of 
wrought silver over him. At a little distance from these were four 
other men, one behind, one before, and one on each side, each of 
whom carried a large silver lanthorn, with a light in it, on the end of 
a long pole finely carved and adorned. 

At the end of the street there was a grand altar, ascended by a 
flight of many steps, where the procession stayed. Here the abbot 
came from under his canopy, and taking the host from the old man, 
went up the steps, where he held it up as high as he could reach. 
At this elevation every individual of the vast multitude present fell 
on their knees, as well those on the house-tops as those in the 

The procession then went on, and after this ceremony, which with 
the procession to the altar took up about two hours, the people seemed 
to assume an air of chearfulness and jollity ; for till now they had 
preserved all the solemnity of devotion. 

As the procession advanced forward, other persons and pageants 
issued from the great church, and in about half-an-hour I saw a vast 
machine moving towards me, consisting of several circular stages, one 
above another, in a pyramidical form. On the stages next the bottom, 
which were the largest, there were many fryars and nuns, all holding 
white lilies in their hands. In the stage next the top were two 
persons representing Adam and Eve, and several others in white 
flowing garments and wings, which were intended for angels. On 
the uppermost stage, which held only one person, was a figure re- 
presenting the Almighty, to whom the eyes of all on the lower stage 
were turned with looks of reverence and adoration. This whole 
inmache, which was drawn by horses, was intended to represent 

The next was an enormous figure in size and shape somewhat re- 

Cormass Procession. 247 

sembling an elephant : the head and eyes were very large, and it had 
also a huge pair of horns, on which sat several boys dressed like 
devils, with frightful masks and crape dresses. The monster was 
hollow within, and the lower jaw was moveable, so that upon pulling 
a string it opened to a vast width, and discovered more devils that 
were within. These devils who worked the jaw were also employed 
to pour out liquid fire through a spout contrived for that purpose. 
This machine, which was also drawn by horses, was intended to re- 
present hell, and was surrounded by a great number of men intended 
to represent devils of a larger size ; these were also dressed in crape, 
and had masks of a most hideous appearance, with tails of various 
kinds and lengths some of cows, some of horses, and some of hogs ; 
and each had a long stick, with a bladder at the end, filled with peas, 
with which they beat the people as they went along, to the no small 
diversion of the spectators. Between this machine and that which 
represented heaven, several young ladies drest in white, with wreaths 
of flowers on their heads, and palms in their hands, passed in small 
carriages, one at a time, and were intended to represent souls that had 
been delivered from purgatory. 

This machine was followed by a man frightfully dressed, to re- 
present Lucifer, who, armed with a pitchfork, was led in chains by 
another man, dressed so as to represent St. Michael the Archangel, 
with a large pair of wings and a long weapon with a crooked blade 
intended to represent a flaming sword, l.ucifer, at the end of every 
ten or twelve paces, fell down, when Michael trod upon his neck, and 
flourished over him his flaming sword. 

Michael and Lucifer were followed by a person drest in a coat of 
various colours, hung round with bells, who carried in his hand a 
hoop, which he frequently jumped through, and showed abundance 
of tricks, but who he was intended to represent I cannot tell. Then 
came a grand carriage, covered with a superb canopy, from the 
middle of which hung a living dove ; under the dove was a large 
table covered with a fine carpet, and kneeling at the table was the 
figure of a woman, with a book before her, drest in white ; on one 
side of her was another figure drest in white, with wings, and a lily 
in the right hand, and pointing upwards. This was designed to re- 
present the salutation of the Virgin Mary. 

Next appeared a great company of boys, who gave us a dance and 
moved forward. Then came another great stage, representing a 
stable, with the Virgin Mary standing by a manger, and the Child 
lying in it. In a kind of scene, which was finely painted, there ap- 
peared a rack with hay, and two oxen feeding ; two men, in very 
magnificent Oriental habits, stood near the manger, supposed to be 
the wise men of the East, directed by the appearance of the star, 
which was artfully suspended by a wire over the manger, and one of 
them, every time the procession stopped, harangued the multitude in 

248 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

a long speech. This machine was followed by another fool with a 

The next machine was a fish, which could not be less than 15 feet 
long ; it was moved by men and wheels concealed within, and 
upon the back of it rode a boy richly drest, and playing on a harp. 
The gold, silver, and jewels which decorated this fish were said to 
have cost above ; 10,000, and to have been furnished by the 
merchants of the city, whose sons and daughters were the principal 
actors in the show. Then came another fool with a hoop. Next 
appeared a representation of Joseph flying into Egypt ; a woman 
representing the Virgin, with a young child in her lap, was mounted 
on an ass, which was led by Joseph, who was drest exactly as he is 
painted on this occasion, with a long beard, a basket of tools at his 
back, and a long staff in his hand. St. Joseph and his spouse were 
attended by several devils, who were found necessary to beat off the 
people that crowded too close upon the procession. These were 
followed by another hoop-dancer. Then came a carriage, very large 
and magnificent, on which was a person representing the grand 
monarch, sitting on a throne, drest in his royal robes, with the crown, 
ball and scepter lying before him on a table covered with embroidered 
velvet. His most Christian majesty was attended by several devils, 
hoop-dancers, and banner-bearers. This machine was immediately 
followed by another, in which the queen was represented sitting on a 
throne, and dressed in her robes, with the ensigns of royalty before 
her in the same manner. She was attended by a great many ladies 
and maids of honour, and the jewels that were about the crown and 
in her head-dress were of incredible value. On this stage there was 
a fine band of musick, and many dancers very richly drest. 

The next pageant was a representation of Bacchus, by a large 
figure drest in flesh-coloured silk, with a great many bacchanals about 
him, holding goblets at their mouths as if they were drinking. Then 
came more devils and hoop-dancers. 

The next represented a kind of sea-triumph. In the front sat 
Neptune, with his trident and crown, in a large shell, and surrounded by 
boys drest in white, who were perpetually throwing out and drawing 
in a line with a lead at the end, as if sounding for the depth of water. 
After this appeared six men in their shirts, walking with poles, 
which were at least 25 feet long and very large, decorated with bells 
and various sorts of flowers. When they came to particular places they 
stopped, and all began to shake their poles with great violence, in 
order to break them, which was not easy to do. Their utmost efforts, 
however, were used for that purpose, for he that broke his pole by 
shaking was for that year exempted from all parish duty. When a 
pole was broke there was a shout of universal joy, but for what reason 
I cannot tell ; and I was told that on this day all the poles were broken 
but one. These pole-beat ers were followed by a large ship, represent- 

Cormass Procession. 249 

ing a man-of-war, placed on a frame with wheels, and drawn by horses. 
The sails were all spread, the colours flying, and the guns, which were 
all of brass, fired very briskly as it passed along. Upon the quarter- 
deck were three men, one representing the admiral, another the cap- 
tain, and another the boatswain, whistling ; on the other parts of the 
vessel there were sailors, some dancing, others heaving the log ; boys 
were placed in the round-tops, and the whole was a compleat model. 

After the ship came a vast machine representing a wood. In this 
wood were several fellows dressed so as to resemble our sign of the 
Green Man ; a green scaly skin was drawn close over their own, and 
their faces were concealed by masks. These mock savages appeared 
from time to time at different openings of the wood, with each a 
pewter syringe in his hand, from which they squirted water on the 
people as they past. This noble piece of ingenuity was the con- 
trivance and production of the Jesuit's College, and caused infinite 
diversion and laughter among the mob. 

The wood was followed by a very tall man, dressed like an infant 
in a body-coat, and walking in a go-cart, with a rattle in his hand. 
After him came the figure of a man 45 feet high, with a boy looking 
out of his pocket, shaking a rattle, and crying incessantly, " Grand- 
papa ! grandpapa !" This tall figure was drest in a long robe of blue 
and gold, which reached quite to the ground, and concealed several 
men that moved it, and made it dance. 

The next was a figure nearly of the same stature, mounted on a 
horse of a size proportioned to the rider. This machine was ex- 
tremely striking and elegant ; the figure of the man was executed in 
the most masterly manner, and the horse was one of the finest pieces 
of workmanship I ever saw. It was made in a moving posture, with 
two of the feet raised from the ground, and concealed in its body 
several men, who moved it along, and produced many motions in the 
rider, who held a general's truncheon in his right hand. The last 
figure was that of a woman, equal in stature to the two men that pre- 
ceded her, and not inferior in elegance and splendour. She was 
dressed in red, with a gold watch by her side as big as a warming-pan ; 
her head and breast were richly adorned with jewels ; the eyes and 
head turned very naturally, and being moved by men concealed 
within, she gave us a dance and past on. Thus ended the Cormass 
a procession scarce exceeded by any now known in the world. 

Christmas-Eve at Goldsberg. 

(From "Friendship's Offering ; or, The Annual Remembrancer." 

[London, 1823, izmo.j) 
[1823, Part I I., p. 544.] 

There are few places where Christmas-eve is kept with greater 
ceremonial than at Goldsberg. The most remarkable features of 

250 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

this celebration are said to derive their origin from a dreadful plague 
which befel this town in 1553. According to an ancient and now 
almost illegible stone monument placed against the wall of the parish 
church, Goldsberg was ravaged in that year by a terrible plague, 
which carried off above 2,500 persons. Oral tradition, indeed, 
affirms that there were not more than 25 housekeepers left alive in 
the place ; and that every house was shut up so strictly that not one 
of the survivors knew what had become of his neighbour. Martinus 
Tabornus, speaking of this pestilence in what are called his " Cladibus 
Goldsbergensibus " [see Note 41], says, it was so infectious that few 
houses were ever opened ; everything appeared dead and gone : the 
grass was growing in many places, and the number who perished ex- 
ceeded 2,500. At this period, says tradition, one of the surviving 
inhabitants went to the Lower Ring, at two o'clock on Christmas 
morning, and sung a Christmas Carol, with a view to animate those who 
had escaped the plague, the malignity of which had been stayed by 
the cold, to unit ewith him in the solemn celebration of an epoch so 
joyful to the human race. Some few ventured to him, and after 
singing another carol they repaired to the Upper Ring, in order to 
excite those who lived in its vicinity to accompany them in their 
thanksgiving. The ceremony, as it is now performed, is said to have 
arisen from a desire to perpetuate the remembrance of this affecting 
scene. About two o'clock in the morning there are frequently not 
less than 2,000 persons collected from the town, the suburbs, and 
the villages belonging to the township, and assembled in the Lower 
Ring. Most of these have previously attended the rituals of 
Christmas-eve, which are celebrated at midnight in the Franciscan 
monastery. At this hour the commander of the town-guard collects 
the whole of the night-police, in conjunction with the Ring Chanter, 
as he is termed. This person is a townsman with a good voice ; he 
is fetched from the Tickelley, leads the train in procession to the 
Lower Ring, and there forms them into a circle. The clock has no 
sooner struck two than the night-watch proclaims the hour, and the 
Ring-chanter opens with the psalm, " Unto us this day a child is 
born," in which he is not only joined by the whole assembled 
multitude, but at the very same instant by those who are waiting the 
signal in the Upper Ring : every house encircling both Rings has its 
windows open and illuminated. After singing the hymn which 
begins, " This day let us praise," etc., the procession moves forward 
to the Upper Ring, where a fresh circle is formed, the hour is again 
proclaimed, and the Chanter sings the two hymns, " We sons of 
Christ," and " Let us bound for joy," the whole town re-echoing 
them far and near. This portion of the ceremony being completed, 
at three o'clock the town-bands perform several pieces with horns 
and trumpets on the tower of the town-hall ; and the Chanter of the, 
Latin school, who has joined them there with all his scholars 

Festival of Corpus Christi at Lisbon. 25 i 

afterwards begins the hymn, "To God alone," accompanied by 
horns, trumpets, and the voices of those in both Rings. This is 
succeeded by vocal and instrumental music composed for the 
occasion. At four o'clock regular service is performed in the parish 
church, which is splendidly lighted up by children bearing in- 
numerable stars made of paper soaked in oil, wax torches, or what 
are called trees, presenting a blazing display of light A sermon 
constitutes the next part of the ceremony, and the whole is closed at 
six o'clock by a Te I)eum, accompanied by horns and trumpets. 

Festival of Corpus Christi at Lisbon. 

[1827, Part I., pp. 12-15.] 

The following account of the grand Catholic Festival of Corpus 
Christi, which was celebrated at Lisbon on Thursday, the I4th June, 
will be interesting to your readers, .as it is allowed to be the most 
gorgeously absurd spectacle of the kind in Europe, and is by far the 
best annual show of Lisbon. It is, therefore, always ushered in with 
great " pomp and circumstance," and attended by immense crowds 
of spectators from the country and neighbourhood. The square of 
the Rocio, where the Inquisition formerly held its sittings and perpe- 
trated its autos-daft, is at present the scene of the exhibition. On 
Wednesday afternoon the inhabitants of this square had the lintels of 
their windows, from the top to the ground-floor, hung with crimson 
damask silk. The houses then appeared to a spectator as if they had 
their window-curtains turned inside out. This operation is performed 
by persons who undertake the job at eight testoons a window. A 
procession thus imposes a considerable window-tax on those who 
have numerous rooms or large apartments in the Rocio. At the 
same time that the fronts of the houses were thus adorned, cart-loads 
of sand were brought into the square to spread on the line of the pro- 
cession. That every part of the ceremony might wear the appearance 
of festivity, these carts, and the yokes of the oxen which drew them, 
entered the square crowned with branches of laurel, orange, or cedar. 
The market-gardeners within a certain range of Lisbon are bound to 
supply loads of flowers to strew the streets on the occasion. They 
come from the country in festive trains, crowned with flowers, and 
accompanied by a band of music. An immense awning was spread 
over the Largo, or open space before the church of the Dominican 
Friars, at the corner of the Rocio, next the Palace of the Inquisition, 
where the procession is marshalled. This space is so large as to 
admit several thousand people. The Church of the Dominicans, 
whence the consecrated Host starts, after the performance of Mass, 
was fitted up with benches covered with damask silk, and with a tri- 
bune for receiving the municipal authorities. The cap, or hat, and 
the other paraphernalia of St. George, was prepared in the castle ; 

252 Ciistoms of Foreign Countries. 

and the horses from the Royal stud at Belem, which were to accom- 
pany or carry the Saint and his page, were brought to the neighbour- 
hood of his chapel. 

In the morning of yesterday, all the Portuguese troops of the line 
in Lisbon, together with the militia- and volunteers, assembled in the 
public gardens near the Rocio, at the early hour of six o'clock. Even 
at that hour the gardens were nearly filled with persons of all ranks, 
so eager are the people to see a religious show, almost the only exhi- 
bition which excites any great degree of public interest. The different 
regiments formed there preparatory to their marching to take up their 
position on the line of procession. Their bands continued to play, 
and the people to promenade in the shade, till about nine o'clock, 
when, the preparations for the show in the Rocio being further ad- 
vanced, the troops proceeded to the square, and formed a double line 
round it, keeping a space clear for the procession. By this time 
every window in the Rocio was filled with spectators, and great crowds 
occupied the square and the adjacent streets. Towards eleven o'clock 
the guns of the castle of St. George announced that the Saint had 
left his chapel, and was descending with his train to join the monks 
and military orders before the Church of St. Dominic. He soon 
made his appearance in the square, mounted on a white charger, 
attended by grooms on foot, and followed by a page and twelve led 
horses, richly caparisoned. He was dressed in the habit of a knight, 
carrying his banner in one hand and holding his bridle in the other. 
His cap was surmounted with plumes of feathers, and adorned with 
rich jewels. It is said (I know not with what truth, nor is it worth 
pains to inquire), that these jewels, which belong to the Duke of 
Cadoval, and which the duke is bound to lend for this occasion, are 
worth 500,000 crusados, or ^50,000. The cap and dress of the page 
were likewise richly studded with jewels. It would really be too 
ridiculous to enter into any further description of this grotesque 
exhibition. The page rode on a beautiful cream-coloured nag ; the 
led horses were by no means handsome ; and, if they are the best in 
the royal stables, give but a poor opinion of the stud of his Faithful 
Majesty. As the Saint is a Lieutenant-General in the Portuguese 
army, the troops presented arms to him ; and Count Villa Flor, who 
commanded them, saluted him as he passed along the line. He had 
previously received the pay belonging to his rank in the morning, and 
is, probably, the only officer whose allowances are never allowed to 
be in arrear. He long continued to enjoy the rank and to draw the 
allowances of a Major-General ; but on a representation being made 
that his length of service entitled him to promotion, he was some 
time ago advanced a step, and now receives proportionably increased 
pay. In England he would most likely be placed on the superannua- 
tion or dead weight list. 

When the Saint, with his party, had arrived at the church whence 

Festival of Corpus Christi at Lisbon. 253 

the Host was to issue, Mass was nearly finished, and the procession 
began to form. About twelve o'clock the spectators were gratified 
with the appearance of the first banners, and, by half-past one or two, 
the whole ceremony was concluded. It could not be amusing to 
describe at length, and would scarcely be intelligible to sketch slightly 
the motley groups which composed the procession : St. George and 
his train ; the confraternities or brotherhoods of the forty parishes of 
Lisbon ; the tribes of monks of the different orders, in black, white, 
or grey ; the clergy, and the banners of the patriarchal church ; the 
members of the tribunals, and the costumes of the orders of knight- 
hood. The patriarch carried the Host under a rich canopy, supported 
by some of the nobility, in the habits of their commanderies. A sur- 
prisingly small number of the nobility or court attended. The train 
was, however, long, the first banners having reached the Church of 
St. Dominic on their return before the patriarch had left it, the whole 
thus forming a line round the four sides of the Rocio, and doubling 
on itself. None of the Royal family were present, as is usually the 
case. Most of the English officers, civil and military, were present. 
Sir W. Clinton, who had been at Cintra with his staff corps for some 
days, came to town to see this celebrated piece of absurdity. St. 
George was, immediately after the ceremony, reconducted to his 
chapel in the Castle, where he is laid up in ordinary till next June. 
His head was raiher unceremoniously stripped of the hat covered 
with brilliants at the door, and ensconced in his old unadorned 
beaver. The Duke de Cadoval's steward seemed apprehensive that 
the diamonds, if they entered the church, might be claimed as a 
deodand to the altar, or retained as a pledge for the debts of the 

It may not be uninteresting to some of your readers to learn a few 
facts connected with the history of this singular ceremony facts 
which (so far as they regard Portugal) can be derived only from such 
monkish works as are not easily accessible, or would not be thought 
worthy of perusal in England. I need, therefore, make no apology 
for the following brief account. 

The festival of "Corpus Christi," now one of the greatest and most 
essential of the Catholic Church, has this peculiarity, that it cannot 
boast of a very ancient origin, and that it commemorates no distant 
event separate from the mystery which is daily celebrated in the sacri- 
fice of the Mass. It was instituted by Pope Urban IV. in 1264, and 
was suggested to that pontiff by a revelation, said to have been made 
to a holy dame of Liege, where his Holiness first commenced his 
theological career. This lady (called "Juliana") was favoured with 
the miraculous vision of a full moon, having only a little slice pared 
off its disk, and was told by angels that this lunar anomaly repre- 
sented the existing Church, as yet imperfect, because it wanted a 
special festival to commemorate the sacrament of Christ's body. 

254 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

This pious nun could not get the moon out of her head, nor the 
warning voice from her ear, till she had partially succeeded in esta- 
blishing this solemnity by the assistance of two other pious sisters 
who, without any communication with her, had enjoyed similar 
visions. Pope Urban IV., in adopting the idea and extending the 
festival to the whole Church, alludes in the bull of institution to the 
source whence he derived it : " Intelleximus" (says he) "olim, dum 
in minore essemus officio constituti, quod fuerat quibusdam Catho- 
licis DIVINITUS revelatum, festum hujusmodi generaliter in Ecclesia 
celcbrandum." To give the new feast greater eclat, his Holiness 
prevailed upon St. Thomas Aquinas that expounder of mysteries, 
that sun of theology, that phosnix of learning, that angel of the 
schools (as he is called by his contemporaries) to compose for it the 
orifice and the Mass, for which Christ is said to have appeared to him 
and thanked him, saying, " Bene scripsisti de me, Thoma," The 
festival has since been confirmed by every successive Council, and 
observed by every Catholic community. The Council of Trent even 
declared heretics, and anathematized, any persons who should ven- 
ture to call in question its utility or Divine origin. Its establishment 
as a ceremony distinct from the administration of the daily sacrifice 
of the Mass, is justified, to persons little scrupulous about the reasons 
for a new holyday, on the same ground as the establishment of the 
solemnities of "All Souls" and "All Saints." 

Though Catholics are called upon to celebrate the birthday of 
some saint in the calendar every day in the year, and are bound 
every day in the year to pray for some unhappy soul in purgatory, 
yet the Church has set apart two separate days in which all the hosts 
of these triumphant and distressed fellow-beings are lumped into one 
common service and share in one common address. The Bull of 
institution which is a very curious production, and which, for its 
style, might have been composed by the angelic doctor, states this 
reason, and adds, " Licet enim hoc memoriale sacrosanctum in quo- 
tidiannis missarum solemniis frequentatur, conveniens tamen arbi- 
tramur, et dignum, ut de ipso semel saltern in anno, ad confundendam 
specialiter haereticorum perfidiam et insaniam, memoria solemnior 
et celebrarior habeatur." Heretics, in a certain sense, may be con- 
founded, but they are not likely to be convinced, by an exhibition 
like that of yesterday. 

This festival, it would appear, though sometimes observed with 
great pomp in Portugal, never made, by its mode of celebration, a 
distinguishing feature of the national superstition till 1709 nearly at 
the commencement of the reign of John V. The sovereigns of Por- 
tugal had always been devout sons of the Church, and had always 
evinced a fondness for joining in religious exhibitions. Don Sebastian, 
who so religiously and so madly lost his army and his life in Africa, 
could not hear the tinkling of the bell which announced the passing 

Festival of Corpus Christi at Lisbon. 255 

of the Host to a dying person without sallying forth from his palace 
in all weathers, whether hot or cold, calm or tempestuous, and at all 
hours, whether night or day, and falling into the sacred troop, like 
.an old cavalry horse when he hears the sound of a trumpet. His 
immediate successor, Cardinal Henry, had the same processional taste; 
and, not to speak of the Spanish family, John IV., the first sovereign 
of the House of Braganza, had nearly lost his life by the hands of 
assassins in the Spanish interest, while walking in the train of monks 
on Corpus-Christi day. He was shot at in a narrow part of the streets 
through which the procession passed, and, had it not been (according 
to his historians) for the miraculous protection of the Host whom he 
was attending, he must have become the victim of his piety. This 
event is commemorated by the church of Corpus Christi, raised on the 
spot where his Majesty's deliverance was obtained. Peter II. did not 
yield to his father in his zeal for this locomotive piety for these per- 
ambulating displays of devotion ; and his successor, John V., ex- 
ceeded them both in his eagerness to honour the festival of Corpus 
Christi. This pious profligate and devout debauchee ordered his 
priests to suggest new modes of giving it splendour, and commanded 
one of his supreme judges and a member of the Academy (whose 
work now lies before me), to write the history of its renovated celebra- 
tion. The latter did so in a folio of 216 pages, which he dedicates 
to his patron ; and in which he tells him, that "as kings are certainly 
the images of God upon earth, so they can imitate the divine opera- 
tions ; for as God called the heavens and the earth out of nothing 
into existence, so his majesty had called from the nothing of his talent 
the execution of this great undertaking." The task and its accomplish- 
ment, the writer and the patron, were perfectly worthy of each other. 
According to the quaint language of the founder of this festival, it 
is ordered to be " universis Christicolis nova festivitate jucundus, et 
ampla jucunditate festivus ;" but at the commencement of the reign 
of John V. the festivity is described as having very much fallen off. 
The parish clergy neglected it altogether, or attended it without their 
canonical habits ; the crosses of the churches, carried by sacristans, 
were mixed in confusion ; the streets were unadorned with flowers, 
and the windows devoid of silk or tapestry ; the inmates of the 
monasteries and the members of the military orders were equally 
negligent ; triumphal arches had not been thought of, and St, George 
had not been called into requisition. His said majesty, who visited 
the convent of Odivellas, and who, going on expeditions of profligate 
pleasure, was so attentive to the welfare of his soul that he used on 
occasions to be accompanied by a priest carrying the sacred viaticum, 
to be administered in case of accidents, reformed all this, and pro- 
vided for the people of Portugal such a show of expensive and sense- 
less magnificence as cannot be equalled in Christendom. His 
successors, down to King John VI., who died last year, always joined 

256 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

the annual procession. His late majesty seemed particularly delighted 
with the figure which he cut in the train of superstition, and parti- 
cularly careful in requiring the attendance of his courtiers at Corpus 
Christi ; for his bitterest enemies must admit, that he did not fall 
short of a Carthusian in his practice of mummery, nor yield to a child 
in his fondness for toys. 

Abstract of a Legend in a very scarce Book, called 
" The History of Miracles performed by the Interces- 
sion of Our Lady of Montserrat." [See Note 42.] 

['779. PP- '34, I35-] 

The first Count of Barcelona had a daughter, a most accomplished 
lady, whom a devil had possessed. The Count sent for aa hermit, 
called Brother John Guerin, surnamed the Holy Man, that he might 
expel the devil out of her. This Guerin performed ; but lest the 
devil again entered her fair body, the Count, by advice of the out- 
driven devil, left her nine days with the holy hermit. Her beauty 
enraptured him ; he debauched her and cut her throat. Guerin went 
to Rome to obtain pardon from the Pope ; confessed to the Holy 
Father his crime, who, trembling with horror, enjoined him as penance 
to return on all fours to Montserrat, not to speak, or stand on his 
feet, until a young child, aged three or four months at most, should 
bid him 'rise, and inform him our Lord had forgiven his crimes. 

Seven years after, the Count of Barcelona was hunting on the 
Mount Montserrat : his huntsman found, in a cave, a man overgrown 
with hair, walking on all fours as a beast. They took him, brought 
him to Barcelona, put him in a stable, chained as a monster. Some 
time after the Count made an entertainment, on account of having a 
son born. The guests, hearing of the hairy man, were desirous to 
see him. He was brought into the salle d manger. The child, whose 
birth was then celebrated, being about three months old, hanging at 
his nurse's breast, whom curiosity had drawn, casting a look on this 
new Lycaon, cried out loudly and distinctly, "Stand up, Father Guerin 
God has pardoned your sins." Instantly he arose, stood erect, 
and related the whole story to the Count, who ratified his pardon, 
saying : " God has pardoned you: I do also from my soul." But the 
Count desired he would inform him where his daughter was buried, 
that he might remove her remains to the tomb of her ancestors. 
Guerin showed him the place. On opening the grave (to their 
astonishment) the lady was found alive, and beauteous to a miracle ; 
there only appeared a small red mark round her neck, resembling a 
collar of silk, where the good man had cut her throat. She informed 
the company the Virgin, to whom she recommended herself, had 
miraculously preserved her. Immediately on the spot a convent for 

Miracles at Montserrat. 257 

women was founded, in memorial of so great a miracle ; the young 
lady was appointed abbess, and Father Guerin confessor and director. 

P.S. The famous Paladerie Don Migo de Guipuscoa,by his spiritual 
quixotism, rendered Montserrat, Mantega, and the cave, as remarkable 
as any places in Spain ; and I would recommend it to the wanderer 
to get plans of those places. I am ready to give him the histories, 
if he requires it, of those places, and the extraordinary facts of S. 

" Thus silly Papists may believe, 
And pin their faith upon priests' sleeve." 

Kossack Marriage Custom. 

[1786, Part I I., AS49-] 

The Kosacs have no other religion than that of the Greek Church, 
which they observe even to the minutest parts of the ritual. Their 
burials and marriages only differ from those of the Russians in cer- 
tain practices which seem peculiar to them. The young man goes 
to his betrothed mounted on a horse, with little bells affixed to the 
harness, the noise of which gives notice to the fair one of the approach 
of her future spouse. These bells are afterwards carefully preserved 
by the relations of the wife, or by herself, in memory of the solemnity. 
The bride not only brings no portion to her husband, but he is even 
obliged to cloathe her from head to foot completely. 

Original Notes of a Traveller in Russia in 1679. 

[1814, Part II,, pp. 421-424.] 

. . . Every priest is called a pope, as Pope Peter, Pope Isidore, 
Pope Basil. A bishop is called Metropolite, or Archimandrite, and a 
dean Protopope. The popes are commonly dressed in red; some, how- 
ever, wear green, and several in other colours, according to their fancy. 
They never cut their hair, nor shave their beard. They are obliged 
to be married ; but they must be the husbands of only one wife, ac- 
cording to the literal expression of the Apostle Paul. So that their 
priesthood depends upon their wives, and dies with them ; for which 
reason they marry young, that they may come early to a benefice, and 
treat their wives somewhat better than the common people do theirs. 
On the death of the wife the pope must become a monk, and it is 
from the monks that the bishops are elected. 

The ceremonial of the Russian baptism differs from that of the 
Romish only in this, that they plunge the person all over in the 
water. During the exorcism, whenever the term " devil " occurs, 
all the congregation spit repeatedly, in testimony of abhorrence. 

The custom which they had formerly of buying foreign children 
that they might make them embrace their religion, is no longer in 

VOL. iv. 17 

258 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

practice. Whenever any foreigner renounces his profession, whether 
Protestant or Catholic, he must renounce also his former baptism ; 
he must curse his father and mother, and spit three times over his 

The generality of Russian marriages are negotiated and brought 
about by third persons, and are celebrated without any great solem- 
nity. Commonly five or six of the female friends of him that wants 
to be married see the girl he intends to take quite naked before he 
promises, and if she has any bodily defect, she takes care to conceal 
it as much as possible. But, for his part, he seldom sees her till he 
be alone with her in the chamber where the marriage is to be con- 

The nuptial ceremonies are not great. A small number of people 
attend the bride till three o'clock in the afternoon. As they come 
out of church, the Panama, or sexton, throws hops upon her, wish- 
ing her to have children in as great a number as there be hops fallen ; 
while another man, having on a sheep-skin shube, or pelice, with the 
wool turned outwards, accompanies her with wishes that she may have 
as many children as there be hairs on his shube. 

Young people conduct the bridegroom to his house, and old women 
the bride, who is closely covered all over, so that no part of her per- 
son is to be seen. The pope at the same time carries the cross 
before her. 

The new-married couple seat themselves at table, and stay there 
some time. They have bread and salt before them, but they eat 
nothing. Meanwhile a sort of choir of boys and girls sing nuptial 
songs so lascivious and obscene, that no language can make them 
more so. 

At getting up from table, an old woman and a pope conduct the 
new-married people into their chamber, where the old woman exhorts 
the bride to be gentle and obedient to her husband, and the man to 
love his wife as he ought to do. 

In one of his boots the bridegroom has a whip, and in the other 
some trifling trinket. He orders the bride to pull off his boots; and 
if it happen that she pull off that first which has the trinket, he gives 
it her, and it is considered as an omen of good fortune to her ; but 
it is reckoned unfortunate if she take off that first which contains the 
whip. In that case, the husband gives her a stroke with it, as an 
earnest of what she is to expect in future. This ceremony being 
over, they are shut up in their room for two hours, the old women 
waiting the while for the marks of the virginity of the bride ; which, 
as soon as she has received, she braids the bride's hair, which had till 
now been dishevelled over her shoulders, and goes to demand the 
Albricias, or dower, of the parents. 

To keep the rooms warm in Russia, it is customary here to make 
a bank of earth round them to the height of about two or three feet ; 

Original Notes of a Traveller in Russia in 1679. 259 

but it is religiously observed not to let any of this earth remain at the 
head of the new-married pair, because the idea of mortality ought not 
then to be the object of their thoughts. 

Children, of whichever sex, do not dare to refuse the husband or 
wife their father points out to them, nor slaves such as their proprietor 
directs. Barice Ivanovitch Morosof, the second person in the empire, 
having resolved to marry one of his friends to a rich widow of Dutch 
extraction, who had embraced the Russian religion, she went and 
threw herself at the feet of the wife of Barice, who is sister to the 
empress ; she intreated her to dissuade her husband from his design 
of forcing her to break the resolution she had made of never marry- 
ing again. All her prayers and intreaties were in vain. " Would 
you dishonour my husband," said the wife of Barice, " so much as 
to refuse a husband from his hand, and make him forfeit the word he 
has given ?" 

The manner in which the Russians treat their wives is still very 
severe and inhuman, although much less so than formerly. It is only 
three or four years ago that a merchant, after having beat his wife in 
a most cruel manner, made her dip her shift all over in brandy, to 
which, as soon as she had put it on, he set fire, and the woman 
perished miserably in the flames. This murder was not examined 
into, because there is no law against putting their wives to death 
under pretence of correction. They sometimes hang a poor creature 
up by the hair of her head, strip her quite naked, and whip her in 
a horrible manner. It is true, they do not have recourse to these 
punishments except in cases of drunkenness or adultery. They are 
even rarely practised at all at present ; and I have observed of laie 
years that fathers take precautions to prevent ill-usage to their 
daughters, and that they insert these articles in their marriage-con- 
tracts : " That the husband shall maintain his wife in a manner suit- 
able to his condition ; that he shall treat her with tenderness ; that 
he shall give her good victuals and wholesome drink ; that he shall 
not scourge her ; that he shall neither kick her, nor give her fisticuffs,'' 
etc., etc. A woman that kills her husband is buried alive up to her 
neck, in which situation she remains till she be dead. 

Persons of quality are rarely married without first consulting some 
fortune-teller, who are for the most part nuns. I have seen a young 
man run out of his wife's chamber, tearing his hair, and crying as he 
ran that he was bewitched and ruined. The remedy is to apply to a 
white magician (as they are called) to untie the knot some black en- 
chanter has tied. This was the case with the young man whom I saw 
in the above situation. 

By the ecclesiastical law, all married folks are forbidden to have 
commerce together three days every week, Monday, Wednesday, and 
Friday. Such as transgress this law must bathe before they can enter 
a church. Entrance is forbidden to a man that takes a second wife, 


260 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

who can only go to the porch ; and whoever marries a third time is 

If a man imagine his wife to be barren, he is to do his utmost to 
persuade her to retire into a convent ; and if she will not consent, he 
has the liberty of bringing her to reason by the blows of a cudgel. 

It is said that even the Empress would have taken the veil, had she 
not been delivered of the Tzarovitch, or prince, who was born the 
second of June, 1661, after having had four daughters without a 
son. . . . 

When the Tzarovitch has attained the age of fifteen years, he is 
taken to the market-place, where he is shown in publick, carried on 
men's shoulders, that he may be known of a sufficient number of 
people, so as to prevent any imposition that might be attempted to 
his prejudice, as there have been several imperial impostors in Russia. 
Till he arrives at this age, he is only seen of the person that has the 
care of his education and some of the principal domestics. The 
Russians in general suffer only their nearest relations and most inti- 
mate friends to see their children, and hide them from strangers with 
great care, fearing lest they should cast an evil eye upon them. 

The Russian children are generally strong and robust. Their 
mothers suckle them only one month, or two at the farthest ; after 
which a horn filled with cow's milk is suspended over their mouths 
with a teat of a cow fastened to the end of it, which is presented 
to them when clamorous. No sooner are they two years old than 
they are obliged to keep the fasts, which are extremely rigorous. 
There are four of these in the year. In Lent they fast three times 
a week, viz., Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. On those days the 
Russians do not eat even fish ; they support themselves solely on 
cabbages, cucumbers, and coarse rye-bread, drinking only Quas, a 
sort of sour small-beer. They will not even drink after a man that 
has eaten meat ; and if anyone be sick, he will not take a medicine 
in the prescription of which sholuld be these words, Cor. Cervi Al., 
or Pit. Lepor., so scrupulous are they in the observance of their fasts. 

Their ordinary penances are to prostrate themselves, to beat their 
head before a picture, and sometimes to eat nothing but bread, salt, 
and cucumbers, and to drink only water. 

Herta, or the Storm-Compeller. 

[1832, Part l.,p. 224.] 

Being a great admirer of the legends and poetical fictions of the 
north, I have employed a good deal of my leisure time in endeavouring 
to express the force of some of the best in English poetry. The 
following is a Danish ballad, not much known, and supposed to be 
of some antiquity. I have attempted to represent the various turns 
and transitions, for which the Danish poems are so remarkable, by a 

Herta, or the Storm-Compeller. 261 

similar change of measure in English. Should it be deemed worthy 
of insertion in your excellent Magazine, it is much at your service, 
and will be followed at times by a few others, which I think are 
perhaps even more remarkable for their wildness and originality.* 

P. D. 

A Ballad from the Danish. 

Herta, according to Scandinavian tradition, was a goddess who presided over 
storms. The Prince referred to in this ballad was called, according to popular 
report, " Sweno ;" but little or nothing is known of his history. 

O dark-eyed maid of Thasca's dell, 

Who sing'st amid the ocean's roar, 
Or by Saint Hilda's sacred well, 
Or roam'st by haunted Elsinore ; 

Hark! hark! 
The sea-mew's scream 
Resounds from Friedenborga's stream ! 
Heard ye how the wild-dogs bark ? 
Saw ye the meteor's fearful gleam ? 

yes, I heard, and merrily 
Sounded the sea-mew's scream to me ! 

I rejoice when meteors stray, 
When the Storm-fiend rushes through the air, 

1 am there ! I am there ! 

To speed, to speed him on his way, 
When the frenzied lightning's glare 

Around my murky tresses play. 
What can be more sweet to see, 
Than the sailor's agony, 
While around the wild waves roar, 
And lash with furious rage the shore ? 
See he clings to yonder plank ! 

Then I flit above his head, 
Then I whelm him, see he sank 

To his everlasting bed ! 
Heavily, heavily went he down 

To his place of rest, 
Without a sigh, without a groan, 

Unhouseled, unconfesLt 

* [No other communications seem to have been made.] 

f The original, " unpurified from the curse of sin." The term " un/iouseleti" 
(so familiar to every reader of Shakespeare) seemed to suit the wild nature of the 
poem. Uncottfest, an anachronism, sed parce, precor !. 

262 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

Him shall Denmark's chiefs bewail, 
Him shall Denmark's people mourn, 

Accursed be the fatal gale 

That bore him to his final bourne ! 

Here the poem abruptly concludes. It appears that there is a 
considerable deficiency before the last two lines, unless they may be 
the words of the people bewailing their lost hero, or perhaps a moral 
reflection of the writer. 

St. Hilda or Eilda, in the original " Eilda, sacred of women ;" an 
expression hardly to be rendered into poetic English. 

The sense appears unconnected in different parts, and perhaps 
some lines are lost. The choruses of the Greek poets, it will be 
remembered, are sometimes similarly confused. 

The epithet storm-compeller (which is rendered literally) will remind 
the classical reader of viptXtiyipira Ztu;, so common in Homer. 

Anecdotes from the Latin of M. Huet, Bishop of 

[1765, //. 113, 114.] 

In the middle of Lake Vetter is an island in which the Swedes 
assert there is a cave of a wonderful depth, where a certain magician 
named Gilbert has been confined for many years, being bound in 
massy fetters by another magician, his preceptor, with whom he had 
dared to stand in competition. They also affirm that many who have 
entered that den, either with a view of rescuing Gilbert or out of 
curiosity, have been punished for their rashness by being detained 
there by some secret force. It is worth observing that Olaus Magnus 
tells us in his History* that this story has been believed for many 
years by that credulous and superstitious nation. And this, it is 
observed, is generally the case with those who, being born in a cold 
climate and being less sensible of the genial influences of the sun, are 
dull in their intellect, and very incapable of developing truth and 
detecting falsehood. Such also, we are told, are the Laplanders 
bordering on Sweden, the Icelanders, and the Greenlanders.f The 
people of Stockholm report that a great dragon, named Necker, in- 
fests the neighbouring lakes, and seizes and devours such boys as go 
into the water to wash ; and on this account they greatly dissuaded 
M. Huet from swimming, when he was desirous of refreshing him- 
self on account of the heat. These idle phantoms, however, did 
not deter him ; and they were greatly surprised when they saw him 
return safe from such an imminent danger. He, however, advised 
them to keep their children from the lakes till they had learned to 
swim, as otherwise they might indeed be swallowed up, not by the 

* Rook iii., chap. 20. He was Archbishop of Upsal in 1544. 
t To these may be added our second -sighted Highland seers. 

Manners, Customs, etc., of the Greenlanders. 263 

dragon, but by the deep whirlpools, which, being covered with un- 
equal rocks, might easily deceive the unwary. 

Another relic of Swedish superstition is seen in the cathedral at 
Stockholm, viz., a picture representing the face of the heavens, such 
as they appeared on the day when King Gustavus Adolphus set out 
from that city on his German expedition. Three suns were seen in 
the sky, surrounded by some luminous circles, which signs the nation 
thought prognosticated those exploits which that great monarch so 
heroically performed, little mindful of what has been remarked con- 
cerning these parhelia by their countryman, Olaus Magnus, viz., that 
they frequently happen towards the north, and probably for no other 
reason than that those clouds, being composed of a denser water, 
supply the place of a mirror, and easily receive and retain the repre- 
sentation of objects. 

Manners, Customs, etc., of the Greenlanders. 

[i 767, /A 64-66.] 

. . . Their houses, or more properly stalls, discover less ingenuity 
than those of many animals. They choose some elevated place to erect 
them, and, as if formed by instinct, they are all upon the same plan. 
They raise walls of sod and stone in an oblong square, about six feet 
high and as many wide ; lay beams and branches of trees across the 
narrow way, and cover them with bilberry-bushes, heath, or small 
spray wood ; over which they lay loose earth or turf, which, freezing 
in the winter, with a deep coat of snow, make to them a comfortable 
dwelling. The inside is no better finished than the outside ; if many 
families agree to live together, they lengthen the square, and divide 
their dwellings like horse-stalls. Each is about six feet wide, and in 
length in proportion to the family. Sometimes ten families live 
under the same roof; they have neither doors nor chimneys. Their 
entrance is through an arched hole, like the oast of a malt-kiln, to 
which they descend both in going in and coming out, creeping on all 
fours to gain a passage. This passage is in the middle of the house, 
and serves all who live in it. Their windows are made of seals,' 
maws, dressed transparently, which admit the light and keep out 
the cold. In every dwelling they raise a wide seat, about a foot 
high round the sides, to sit upon ; the men sit in front, the women 
sit behind them ; they s'.eep upon the floor. Instead of fire, they 
burn a lamp constantly, supplied with train-oil, and, instead of cotton, 
use dry moss rubbed fine. Over this lamp they hang a bastard- 
marble kettle, in which they boil their meat. Every separate dwell- 
ing has a separate lamp, and these lamps warm as well as light their 
apartments. In this manner they live during the winter ; but in the 
summer they live in tents. Their winter's provisions they bury in 
the snow, and creep out of their holes for it as they want it ; their 

264 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

water is kept in a wooden tub. They are hospitable to one another; 
and if one's carrion is consumed before the others', they all partake 
alike to the last morsel. They have out-houses to stow their fishing 
and hunting implements in. They pride themselves in their poverty ; 
and notwithstanding their apparent misery, they seldom are known 
to repine. . . . 

They have no laws nor religion ; yet they are in many respects 
virtuous, if abstinence from vice may be called virtue. Children love 
their parents, and seldom forsake them, even when they have children 
of their own. The Greenlanders live a kind of patriarchal life, and 
some of them wander from one part of the country to another and 
have no settled residence ; landed property they know of none ; 
money they hold of no value, because of no use to them ; a guinea 
or a brass counter, a diamond or a glass bead, are exactly alike in 
their estimation. A roll of tobacco or a box of snuff would purchase all 
the gold and jewels the native Greenlanders possess. Looking-glasses, 
combs, ribbons, and children's toys for show ; knives, saws, gimblets, 
chissels, sewing-needles, scissors, axes, iron-headed darts, dishe<, 
plates, kettles, powder, shot, and arms, etc , are to them the only 
valuables, and snuff and tobacco their greatest luxuries ; singing, 
dancing, playing at foot-ball, and wrestling, are their usual diver- 

[1767, /. 209.] 

It has been already observed that before the missionaries arrived 
in Greenland the natives had no trace of religion or religious cere- 
monies among them; the seafaring people indeed, who had acci- 
dentally wintered in that country, observing their custom of standing 
every morning, as soon as they rose, with their faces towards the sun, 
in deep meditation ; and seeing likewise (on some eminences) cinders 
upon elevated stones, and little heaps of stones upon these supposed 
altars, had represented the Greenlanders as the grossest idolators, 
worshipping the sun and sacrificing to the devil; but these notions 
took their rise from not understanding their language and not know- 
ing their customs. The Greenlanders continue the practice to this 
day of looking towards the sun every morning to observe the weather ; 
and those supposed altars and sacrifices were nothing but the remains 
of their forsaken summer dwellings, which they every year change 
and erect anew. 

It must not, however, as M. Craul well observes, be concluded 
from this deficiency of external worship that they had no internal 
notions of a supernatural governing power, of whose secret decrees 
they live in continual dread. There is no nation yet discovered, 
though ever so wild and savage, over whom the dread of invisible 
agency has not an apparent influence. Among these simple Green- 
landers it is discoverable in almost every action of their lives : they 

Lapland Tradition of tJie Origin of the World. 265 

have their angekoks, or sorcerers, by whose enchantments or knavish 
craft they are held in the greatest awe. These are consulted in all 
cases of danger, sickness, famine, or enterprise ; these the simple 
Greenlanders think can cure diseases or bring them on ; can enchant 
or dissolve the spell of an enchanted arrow ; can call blessings down 
from heaven or mischiefs up from hell ; bring spectres in or drive 
them out of their dwellings ; and many feats besides. 

Lapland Tradition of the Origin of the World. 

[1753. / 216.] 

... Their notions concerning the origin of the world are gross 
and confused. They pretend that at the creation God designed to 
have made all the trees of marrow, and to have filled the lakes with 
milk instead of water, and to have caused all plants whatever to have 
borne delicious fruits, but that Perkel (so they call the evil spirit) 
opposed it, and prevented things being so good as God intended 
them. They have a tradition of the universal deluge, which they 
say destroyed all mankind except one brother and one sister, whom 
God took under His arms and placed upon a great mountain called 
Posseware ; and that after the flood was gone off, the brother and 
sister separated to see if any other had escaped ; that they met again 
after three years, but knew one another, and therefore separated a 
second time ; that they met and separated another time ; but that at 
the third rencounter they knew one another no longer, and therefore 
they united and became the parents of mankind. In these traditions 
one may discover an odd medley of the Mosaic history, fable, and 
Manicheism. The tradition they have of their own origin is pleasant 
enough. The Laplanders and the Swedes, say they, are the de- 
scendants of two brothers, not at all resembling each other in point 
of courage. One day a violent storm arose, and the ancestor of the 
Swedes was so sore affrighted that he took shelter under a plank, 
which God, out of compassion, transformed into a house ; but the 
progenitor of the Laplanders never hid himself, but brav'd the fury 
of the tempest, and his posterity to this day live without houses and 
without shelter. . . . 

The Manners of the Esquimaux Indians. 

[1772. A 617-] 

(From " The Description given by Mr. [ William] Wales of the 
Esquimaux Indians.") 

They are not without some notion of religion, but it is a very 
limited one. They acknowledge two beings : one the author of all 
good, the other of all evil. The former they call Ukkemah, which 
appellation they give also to their chiefs ; and the latter they call 
Wittikah. They pay some sort of adoration to both, though it is 

266 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

difficult to say what. Their opinion of the origin of mankind is, 
that Ukkemah made the first men and women out of the earth, three 
in number of each ; that those whom we Europeans sprang from 
were made from a whiter earth than what their progenitors were, and 
that there was one pair of still blacker earth than they. They have 
likewise an imperfect traditional account of the deluge, only they 
substitute a beaver for the dove. 

[1823, Part I., pp. 292, 293.] 

... I have been induced to gather a few characteristic impressions 
of the manners of the Esquimaux Indians, which you may probably 
think interesting for your venerable journal. 

Their general appearance is remarkably healthy and vigorous ; they 
exhibit great dexterity in the use of paddles in their canoes through 
the most boisterous waves. They have a frank and fearless manner 
of approaching strangers, even from distant countries, and show great 
eagerness to traffic for axes, iron hoops, tin kettles, etc., for which 
they will barter their oil, blubber, and whalebone ; and Mr. West says, 
that in this act of trade they held their articles very tenaciously, till 
they had got hold of what they were to receive in exchange ; which, 
if they approved, they universally licked with their tongue ; and when 
not satisfied, they expressed much savageness with ferocity in their 
countenance and manner. Their clothing was entirely of skins, with 
the hairy side outward, sewed with the sinews of the whale, split into 
thin fibres for thread, and discovered a good deal of neatness and 
strength, and must be well calculated for the cold climate which they 
endure. Some of their dress was ornamented with seahorse and 
bears' teeth, and their appearance altogether truly barbarous. Wander- 
ing as they do in savage liberty along these desolate shores, and their 
women in a state of the greatest degradation which barbarism can 
impose on the heathen, there still appeared a strong parental attach- 
ment to their children, and a great readiness in imitation. One or 
two of them danced with the captain on deck, and caught his steps 
with great agility. They excited strong emotions of pity as they with- 
drew to their haunts along the shore. Little appears to be known of 
them at present, though they have visited the Company's ships annually 
for many years past, from whence it was designed to send our inter- 
preter to ascertain their condition. They appeared at the Factory to 
sink in the lowest state of degradation as human beings. I could 
(adds Mr. West) scarcely refrain from tears on visiting them in their 
huts. The life of the Indians appears to be one succession of diffi- 
culties in procuring subsistence, and they wander through it without 
hope and without God in the world ! The children are growing up 
in ignorance and idleness ; they are the offspring of the Company's 
officers and clerks, by Indian or half-breed women. 

The Manners of the Esquimaux Indians. 267 

A considerable number of Esquimaux Indians trade to Churchill, 
the most northern post of the Company's territories. They are en- 
tirely clothed with the skins of deer. In summer, they live upon 
seals and whales, like those of Hudson's Straits. In winter, they live 
under the snow, burning oil with moss as a wick, which cooks their 
food, while at the same time it contributes to their warmth. The 
chief of this department supposed that they might travel 150 or 200 
miles north of the fort, till they met another tribe, who, like them, 
might range the same distance on the shore further north. 

The missionary pressed upon them the subjects of baptism and 
marriage, but they seem very far from either adopting or understand 
ing them. The women are not considered as companions, nor do 
they partake their meals with those they live with they are degraded 
merely as slaves ; while the children are neglected, and grow up as 
wild and uncultivated as the heathen. But they readily gave up their 
children for education. 

Their boats are constructed of birch rind, and are strong enough 
for a voyage of 800 miles up the Red River. It was usual for them, 
when they stopped for the night, to make a large fire with pine-trees ; 
they place the branches on the ground under their blankets when 
they lie down in their tents, and a little hay enables them to sleep 

The more I see (says this rev. missionary) of the character of man 
in this country, the more do I lament and feel indignant at his general 
conduct. The depressed female is taken just for the morning of her 
days, and then too generally turned adrift, for the next person or 
Indian who chooses to take her, and has often been so neglected, as 
to have been found starved to death in some old shattered tent ! 

. . . Mr. West performed many marriages and baptisms, and 
some of the latter were upon adults, who had been half-breeds, 
sons or daughters of Scotchmen or Englishmen, by Indian or half- 
breed women. He endeavoured to explain to them the object of 
baptism, but found great difficulty in conveying to their minds any 
just ideas of Christ. The half-breeds talk Indian principally, and 
there is no word in that language to express a Saviour. He goes to 
the fort from the farm on a Sunday in a cariole drawn by wolf-dogs. . . . 

When an Indian dies, his corpse is staged; i.e., put upon a few cross- 
sticks, about ten feet from the ground. In burying or staging the 
dead, the Indians generally put all the property of the deceased into 
the case ; and whenever they visit the corpse, which they do for years 
afterwards, they encircle the stage, smoke their pipes, weep bitterly, 
and frequently cut themselves with knives, or pierce themselves with 
the points of sharp instruments. . . . 

A. H. 

268 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

Manners of the Kamschatkadales. 

[I764,/. 309.] 



CZARINA. [See Note 43.] 

[The first portion is devoted to the description of the country, and is therefore 
not reprinted here.] 

[1764, /. 423.] 

. . . They are wholly uncivilized and uninstructed, and their 
manner of life is little removed from that of mere animal nature. 
Some of them have no fixed habitations, but wander from place to 
place with their herds of reindeer ; others reside on the banks of rivers, 
and the shore of the Penschinska sea, living upon fish, sea animals, 
and such herbs as grow upon the shore. The wanderers shelter 
themselves in huts covered with deer skins, the others dwell in cells 
and caves which they dig in the earth. Their temper is rough, and 
they are totally ignorant of letters and religion. Whence they came, 
and when they first settled here there is no account : they pretend 
that they were created upon this very spot, and that their first ancestor 
was Kuthu, who formerly lived in the heavens. . . . 

. . . Though having no notion of riches or honours, they are with- 
out covetousness or ambition, yet as they frequently invade the pro- 
perty of others by stealing their provision, and violently carrying off 
their daughters, quarrels and wars are frequent among them. Their 
mutual wants are supplied among themselves, not in the common 
way of sale and barter, but when one needs anything another has, he 
goes freely to visit him, and without any ceremony makes known his 
wants, though perhaps he never saw him before : the person thus 
visited is obliged to behave according to the custom of the country, 
and bringing whatever his guest has occasion for, gives it him. He 
afterwards returns the visit, and must be received in the same manner, 
so that the wants of both parties are supplied. 

Their villages are enclosed by a mud-wall, or wooden fence, and 
they consist of a certain number of habitations both for winter and 
summer, which are very different constructions. The winter habita- 
tion is made by digging a square hole in the earth, about five feet 
deep, the length and breadth being proportioned to the number of 
people that are to live in it. At each corner of this square hole they 
set up a thick wooden pillar ; over these pillars they lay balks, upon 
which they form a roof of grass and earth, leaving in the middle a 
square opening, which serves at once for door, window, and chimney; 
in one side of this square is the fire-place, and on the opposite side 
is ranged their kitchen furniture ; on the two other sides there are 

Manners of (he Kamtschatkadales. 269 

broad benches, on which each family, for one hut contains several, 
lies separately. 

[i 764, /A 468-472.] 

. . . They think it a sin to drink or to bathe in hot water, or to go 
up to the burning mountains, because they suppose this will provoke 
the invisible beings who inhabit these mountains to hurt them : an 
opinion, however, which seems wholly inconsistent with that of their 
good and ill fortune depending wholly upon themselves, and so is 
almost everything that is related of them under this head ; for we are 
told that they pay a religious regard not only to invisible Beings, 
from whom they apprehend danger, but to several animals, for the 
same reason ; they offer fire at the holes of sables and foxes, and 
they address deprecatory prayers to whales, sea-horses, bears, and 
wolves ; and they pretend to avert misfortune, cure diseases, and 
foretell future events by muttering incantations over the fins of fishes 
and the herb called sweet-grass ; they pretend also to judge of their 
good and bad fortune by the lines of the hand, and by their dreams, 
which they relate to each other as soon as they awake. . . . 

Upon a wedding, or a plentiful hunting, one village entertains 
another. The guests are sometimes entertained with great bowls of 
liquor called Opanga, which they swallow till the stomach, being 
overloaded, returns it ; and sometimes of a liquor made of large 
mushrooms, prepared with the juice of the French willow, called 
Kpilobium ; this liquor, in a small quantity, raises their spirits, and 
makes them brisk, courageous, and cheerful ; but the least excess 
produces first an universal tremor and then madness, in which the 
party either raves or is melancholy, according to his constitution. 
Some jump, dance, and sing ; others weep and are in terrible agonies, 
a small hole appearing to them a great pit and a spoonful of water a 
lake. . . . 

Private entertainments are sometimes given when one person seeks 
the friendship of another ; upon this occasion the guest is invited by 
the host to his hut, which is made very hot for his reception, and as 
soon as he enters it both of them strip naked. The host then sets a 
load of victuals before the guest, and while he is eating throws water 
upon hot stones till the heat of the hut becomes unsupportable ; the 
guest labours hard to devour all the victuals before he is burnt out ; 
and the host to burn him out before he has devoured all the victuals ; 
if the guest succeeds, it is an indelible disgrace to the host ; if the host 
succeeds, the guest purchases his dismission with a present of dogs, 
cloaths, or whatever else is agreeable to the host, who expects to be 
used after the same manner in return. 

There are, however, private entertainments, where more than one 
person is invited. In these the guests are treated in the same 
manner, except that they are not tormented with heat, nor are any 

270 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

presents exacted of them. Mine host upon these occasions treats 
with the fat of seals or whales cut into slices. One of these slices he 
takes in one hand, and a knife in the other ; then kneeling down 
before one of his guests, he thrusts the fat into his mouth, crying in 
a surly tone, Ta na, and then cutting off what hangs out of his mouth 
with the knife, he performs the same kind office for another. 

When a Kamschatkadale resolves to marry, he looks about for a 
bride in some of the neighbouring villages, seldom in his own, and 
then, when he finds one to his mind, he discovers his inclination to 
her parents ; desiring that he may be permitted to enter into their 
service, which is a state of probation that custom has here made 
indispensably necessary. This permission is granted, of course, and, 
during his service, which custom has limited to a certain time, he 
exerts himself to the utmost in such assiduities as he thinks will most 
recommend him ; when the time has expired he asks their consent to 
his desire : if they are not satisfied, they give him some small reward 
for his services, with which he departs; but, if they approve, the 
bridegroom has nothing to do but to strip the bride naked, which is 
all that constitutes a Kamschatkadale marriage ; but this is not so 
easy a task as a European may imagine ; from the moment that 
leave is given to a lover to seize and strip his mistress, all the women 
in the village take her under their protection ; and at the same time 
almost smother her in clothes, heaping one garment upon another, 
and swathing her round with fish-nets and straps, so that she has the 
appearance of a mummy ; the bridegroom, in the meantime, is upon 
the watch to find her alone, or with but a few women about her ; 
whenever this happens he throws himself upon her, and begins to tear 
off her cloaths, nets, and straps ; as many of the women who have 
engaged to guard her as are within hearing take the alarm, and run 
to her assistance ; they fall upon the lover without mercy, pull him 
away by his hair, beat him, scratch his face, and use every other 
method they can think of to prevent him from accomplishing his 
design. If there are but a few women at hand, he probably obtains 
his wish ; and, having entirely stripped the lady, he runs from her ; 
but she, as an acknowledgment of his conquest, calls him back with 
a tender voice, and he has liberty to go to her bed ; but if the 
protectors of assailed virginity are numerous, he is beaten away, 
generally so wounded and bruised as to disable him for some time 
from a second attempt. His attempts, however, he repeats, as soon 
and as often as he is able, sometimes for more than a year before he 
succeeds ; and there is an instance of one who persevered seven 
years, and during that tedious consent was so cruelly treated by the 
women that instead of being a husband, he became a cripple for the 
rest of his life. 

The day after the marriage ceremony has been successfully per- 
formed, the husband carries off his wife to his own village. 

Manners of the Kamtschatkadales. 271 

After some time, the bride and bridegroom return to the wife's 
relations, where the marriage-feast is celebrated. Of one of these 
visits and feasts, the author of this work was a spectator, and he thus 
describes it : 

The bridegroom, his friends of both sexes, and the bride with 
victuals for the entertainment, embarked in three boats. The women 
were in their best cloaths, but the men were naked ; for having 
seated the women, it was their task to push the boats along with 
poles. When they came within about one hundred paces of the 
village to which they were going, they landed and began to sing ; 
they then proceeded to conjure, by playing several tricks with some 
tow, fastened upon a rod, and muttering some unintelligible jargon 
over the dried head of a fish, which they also wrapped up in tow and 
gave to an old woman to hold. When the conjuration was over, they 
put upon the bride a coat of sheep's-skin and tied four images about 
her, by which she was so loaded and encumbered that she could 
scarce stir. They then all embarked again, and landed a second 
time at the village, where they were met by a boy, who, taking the 
bride by the hand, led her to her father's hut, whither all the women 
followed her. 

When she came to the hut, the old woman with the fish's head 
descended into it first, and laid the head at the bottom of the stairs ; 
then the bride was let down by a strap tied round her for that pur- 
pose, treading on the fish's head at the bottom; a ceremony that was 
observed by all the company, and then it was thrown into the 

The bride was then stripped of her superfluous ornaments, and the 
strangers took their places. The bridegroom heated the hut, dressed 
the victuals he had brought, and entertained the inhabitants of that 

The next day the father entertained the strangers with great super- 
fluity, and on the third day they departed ; but the bride and bride- 
groom remained to work some time with the father. Her superfluous 
dress was distributed amongst her relations, who were obliged to 
make presents of much greater value in return. 

Such are the ceremonies of a marriage with a virgin. If the bride 
is a widow, the agreement of the parties themselves is sufficient, ex- 
cept that the new husband must not take her till somebody else has 
taken away her sins. This ceremony consists in some stranger's once 
lying with her, and it is deemed as very dishonourable to the man. 
It was extremely difficult to get it performed before the Cossacks 
came among them, but now nothing is more easy, the Cossacks being 
always ready to take away the sins of the widow whenever she is 
desirous of having a new husband in their stead. . . . 

Some are very desirous of children, and some extremely averse to 
it; some, therefore, use many superstitious rites to conceive, and 

272 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

some take noxious herbs to prevent it. Some are so unnatural that 
they destroy their children as soon as born, and sometimes throw them 
alive to the dogs ; they are also cruel from superstition ; for when a 
woman bears twins, one of them at least must be destroyed. So 
must a child born in very stormy weather, though both these prac- 
tices, as well as their conjurations, contradict the notion of their good 
or ill fortune depending wholly on themselves, uninfluenced by 
superior and invisible agents. 

The principal diseases in this country are the scurvy, palsy, cancer, 
jaundice, and the venereal distemper. As they believe these mala- 
dies to be inflicted by spirits whom they have offended, they attempt 
the cure of them by charms and incantation, not, however, wholly 
neglecting medicine. . . . 

The Kamtschatkadales, totally destitute of that tender sensibility 
so generally expressed, neither burn nor bury their dead, but, binding 
a strap round the neck of the corpse, drag it out of the hut and leave 
it as food to their dogs. For this, however, they give a reason, founded 
upon their regard even for the dead ; for they say, that those who are 
eaten by dogs will drive with fine dogs in the other world. 

They throw away all the cloaths of the diseased, because they 
believe that whoever wears the cloaths of one that is dead will him- 
self die before his time. After the corpse has been disposed of as just 
related, the surviving inhabitants of the hut think they are under a 
personal pollution, which they remove by going to the wood, cutting 
some rods, making them into a ring, creeping twice through it, and 
then throwing it towards the west. Those who dragged out the body 
are thought to stand in need of an additional purification, which is 
effected by their catching two birds, of any sort, burning one, and eating 
the other with the family. Till this is done, they dare not enter any 
other hut, nor will anybody else enter theirs. . . . 

Account of the Inhabitants of Koreki. 

[1764, /. 472.] 

The religion of these people is, if possible, more absurd than that 
of the Kamtschatkadales ; their worship is paid wholly to evil spirits, 
but they have no fixed seasons for performing it. Whenever they 
pass a river or waste which they think the devils inhabit, they kill a 
reindeer or a dog, the flesh of which they eat, and leave the head and 
tongue, sticking it on a pole with the front towards the east ; and when 
they are afraid of any infectious distemper, they kill a dog, and wind- 
ing the guts upon two poles, they pass between them. . . . 

Theft, however, if not committed among their own tribe, is re- 
putable, and a girl cannot be married till she has shown her dexterity 
in stealing with such address as not to be discovered. 

Account of the Inhabitants of Koreki. 273 

Their marriage ceremonies are much the same as among the 
Kamtschatkadales ; and they marry their kinsmen without scruple, 
except a mother or daughter. . . . 

They are very fond of their children, and bring them up from their 
infancy to labour and economy. They attend the sick with great 
care and tenderness ; and they burn their dead with great solemnity. 
They dress them in their finest apparel, and draw them to the place * 
where they are to be burned with those deer that they think were 
their favourites. When they arrive at the spot, they erect a large pile 
of wood, upon which they place the body, with the arms of the de- 
ceased their spear, quiver, arrows, and bow with a kettle, and some 
other utensils. They then set fire to the pile, and while it is burning, 
kill the deer that drew the corpse, upon which they feast, and throw 
the fragments into the fire. 

They celebrate the memory of the dead only once, and that one 
year after their decease. All the relations then assemble, and taking 
two young reindeer that have never been broken, and a great many 
horns of deer, which they have been collecting through the whole 
year for that purpose, they go to the place where the body was 
burned, and there, having killed and feasted on the deer, the Sham- 
man or conjuror drives the horns into the ground, pretending that he 
sends a herd of deer to the dead. And after this they return home ; 
and in order to purify themselves, they pass between two rods that 
are fixed in the ground, and the Shamman, at the same time beating 
them with another, conjures the dead not to take them away. . . . 

The Kurelski Islanders. 
[I764,/. 473-] 

These people have an extraordinary way of punishing adultery. 
The husband of the adultress challenges the adulterer to single 
combat. When they meet, they are both stripped quite naked. 
Then the challenger gives the challenged a club about three feet 
long, and about as thick as a man's arm. The challenger is then 
obliged to receive three strokes upon his back with this club ; after 
which, the challenged, returning it, is treated in the same manner. 
This they perform three times, and the result is generally the death 
of both the combatants. But it is reckoned as great a dishonour to 
refuse this combat as it is among us to refuse a duel The injured 
party sometimes thinks himself not bound to give him that has 
already debauched his wife an opportunity to kill him ; in that case, 
the adulterer is obliged to give him whatever he demands in skins, 
cloaths, provisions, or any other species of property. 

The women here do not recover from child-bearing in less than 
three months, though their neighbours, the Kamtschatkadales, are 
scarce laid up a day. The midwives give names to the children as 

VOL. iv. 1 8 

2 74 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

soon as they are born, which they always keep ; but if twins happen 
to be born, they always destroy one. 

They do not burn, but bury their dead : those that die during the 
winter in the snow, and those that die during the summer in the 

Tradition Concerning the Kings of Ceylon, etc. 

[1802, Part If., pp. 899-901.] 


There was formerly an holy mountain on the earth, called " Odea- 
gerree paroovatam," on which two Gods descended from Chatoorm 
maha rajakeh dcree lokun ; from thence they addressed the inhabi- 
tants of the earth, warning them of a deluge of rain, which would 
last seven days, and desiring them consequently to be careful of their 
safety : they afterwards returned to Heaven. 

It is recorded in the Cingalese Bible, that during the first ages the 
life of the most virtuous man did not exceed 120 years; and those of 
inferior merit continued upon earth in proportion downwards. And 
it was decreed by Almighty power that, when any man should prove 
sufficiently sinful to cause his death after a period of ten years, there 
would a deluge happen upon earth. 

The Viriusces, who alone had any knowledge of the supreme 
decision, and from a conviction of the general depravity of mankind, 
began to take shelter among caverns and on the summits of lofty 
mountains ; but the sinful, heedless of their conduct, and unmindful 
of the divine wrath, experienced all the horrors of the rain. In addi- 
tion to the calamities brought on by the overflow of the waters, they 
appeared to each other as animals, and soon began to wage war 
among themselves ; and those which escaped the death that their 
own brethren inflicted, were overwhelmed by the waters. 

The righteous, who escaped this almost general destruction, enacted 
salutary laws for their better being, and established the existence of 
ten sins, five of which were deemed capital, and the others less 
heinous, and atoned for by moderate penance. The age of the 
virtuous man after this was extended to innumerable years ; but vice 
again resuming its empire, the period became reduced to what it had 
originally been. 

About this time was born a monarch named Sankanam Chakeravarty 
Rajah. He had a palace on earth, which he possessed the power of 
visiting at pleasure, attended by ten things, including his family and 
certain necessary articles. They were as follows : a wife and child, 
a minister, a person called Pareenaekeh Vdtne, the general of his 
armies, and Graha-pattee ratneh, who furnished him with provisions, 

Tradition Concerning the Kings of Ceylon. 275 

an elephant, a horse, a ruby by which he obtained his wishes, a holy 
Palmirah-tree, and a species of gold instrument termed Shuckrutn.* 

Soodortenah Maha Rajah was born in this family, and had for his 
wife Maha Maya Devee ; her son was named Seed'harta Komareah, 
who reigned as king, and his wife Yasohderah Devee, by whom he 
had a son called Rahoolah Komareah. The father was not at home 
at the birth of this son ; but having afterwards returned, and while 
he had one foot within and the other without the house, he discovered 
on the bed both mother and child ; from which moment he deter- 
mined having nothing further to do in family affairs. A month after 
this he directed his minister to provide him a horse of a parti- 
cular description, which he mounted and rode, until he had crossed 
the Anomanany Gangava (river), from whence he sent him back with 
his jewels, etc., to his father, and, shaving his head, turned hermit. 
Brahma on this occasion descended from Heaven to supply all his 
wants ; and on his return took with him the hair of Seed'harta 
Komareah, which still continues to be held sacred there. He after 
this retired to the wilderness, where he remained six years in constant 
devotion ; having returned, he wrought great miracles, which, as well 
as his principal actions, are recorded in three books, called Vineh 
peetakeh, Sootra peetakeh, and Abee d'herma peetakeh. 

The son of Seed'harta Komareah had issue; and of his descendants 
was Vijee Rajah, the first king of Ceylon : the present king is the 
one hundred and fortieth in descent from him. 

The present capital of the kingdom of Candia is called in Cinga- 
lese, or the common dialect, Singedda Gullah Nuareh. 

In the Palee, it is called Sree vardena pooree noowereh. 


There was a monarch of the threefold worlds, or Universe, named 
Vessantara Rajah, whose daily care was to distribute charities to all. 
Liberality and bounty are said to have carried him so far, that he at 
length presented the people with his very eyes. At times he fed the 
insects that surrounded him with his own blood, and at others gave up 
his flesh to be devoured by animals ; in like manner as he in the first 
instance gave up his wealth to the poor, so did he his wife and children 
to those who stood in need of them. Having at length departed this 
life, he ascended into heaven, where he enjoyed a blessed state for a 
long time, ambrosia being his food, and nectar his drink. 

Four gods then in heaven, Dertahrakterreh, Veeroodha, Veeroo- 
paakehe 1 , and Waceshshravanah, requested this sanctified person to 

* The Chank and Shuckrum are symbols, with which two of the four hands of 
Vishnoo are usually furnished. 

I 8 2 

276 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

descend upon earth under the name and form of Bhooddha. At the 
same time there was another god in heaven named Bodee Satyo, who 
began to consider into whose womb Bhooddha should descend, who 
was to become his father, who his mother, and in what country he 
should be born. The country's name appeared to be Dwmba Dceva 
Madda Uese, the city Kimboolwatpooree ; the father Seedoo-dena- 
Maharajah; and the mother Mahamaya Deevee, who, after a lapse of 
ten months, was delivered of him in a flower-garden, called Lumbee 
Neenam. At the time of his birth, the great Brahma attended and 
received the infant in a golden bason ; after which, he handed him to 
the god Hattemh-verrang Deyo, so called from possessing four attri- 
Dutes, and by him given to mankind. 

The infant after this seated himself down, and viewed the four 
liiarters of the globe, thinking whether the guardians of these quar- 
ters exceeded him in greatness ; also whether he was excelled therein 
by the sun or moon. He grew up daily until the age of twenty-one ; 
when all the gods appearing in his presence, desired him to assume 
the name of Bhooddha, having previously gone by that of Seeddaarta 
Komarah. After this he repaired to a river called Nerangenanang 
Ganga li'a/ta, on horseback, distant 120 leagues, which he performed 
in one day. On the banks of this river, at a place called Anooma- 
nantotedee, the great Brahma appeared before him, and gave him 
three pieces of yellow cloth, which he put on ; that instant the horse 
expired, and his spirit ascended to heaven. Bhooddha then journeyed 
to a sandy plain called Orooddanaoo, where he remained performing 
penance for six years, during which the Almighty provided him with 
food, which sometimes consisted of a tibbot-berry, and at others of 
a grain of ginger, upon which he subsisted ; never closing his eyes 
the whole time, being constantly taken up in meditation and prayer. 
He afterwards left this place, and went to Senaneenam-neeangamata, 
where stood a negrodha-tree, under the shade of which he remained. 
He no sooner arrived here, than a virgin of angelic beauty, who had 
waited his coming for many years, presented him a golden cup con- 
taining milk and boiled rice. Having accepted this offering, he took 
it with him to the above-mentioned river, whither he returned, and 
then ate fifty-one handfuls of victuals. This done, he placed the cup 
on the surface of the water, where it descended to the world of ser- 
pents, called Nagabawanah ; he afterwards took shelter under a tree 
named Salwanee Satapilla, situated in the midst of a wilderness, 
where he remained the entire of that day. In the meantime, the 
gods were busied in clearing the country, and making roads for his 
future progress, which he began that evening. As he journeyed on 
his way, he met a Brahmannee boy* with a bundle of the grass called 
kussa, which he threw at his feet, and then prostrated himself before 
him. Bhooddha, taking up the grass, repaired with it to a tree called 

* A boy of the lirahmin caste or sect. 

Tradition Concerning the Kings of Ceylon. 277 

Bodee (this is the Palee word, Bogaha being used in the Cingalese, 
or low dialect), situated in the centre of an antient city in the neigh- 
bourhood of Slant, against which tree he rested his back, and holding 
the bundle of grass up in his hands and shaking it, a diamond throne 
thirteen cubits high arose out of its contents, upon which he seated 

About this time the god of the seventh, or empyrean heaven, 
became envious of the miracles of Bhooddha, and sent down an army 
composed of angels and evil spirits to attack him. Their numbers 
amounted to ten hundred thousand millions, all of which he defeated 
and destroyed. Bhooddha then banished love, anger, and every 
other jarring passion from his mind and body, and enjoyed the purest 
pleasures on his diamond throne for seven days ; at the expiration ot 
which time the great Brahma and all the subordinate Gods appeared 
in his presence, and acknowledging his preeminence, prostrated 
themselves and adored him, calling him by the name of Bhooddha, 
After this, Brahma and the other gods attended him through the 
world, while he bestowed happiness and salvation on mankind 
Brahma holding an umbrella over his head, whilst Indra blew a 
trumpet before him, and Vishnoo fanned him. 

The Blwodda-\Varooseh, or aera of Bhooddha, which dates from 
his ascension to heaven, stands as follows : 

On the 3oth of November, Anno Domini 1796, 2339 years and 
17 days had elapsed. Bhooddha was eighty years of age when he 
died. Twenty-nine years of his life were passed with his family ; six 
in pilgrimage and prayer ; and for forty-five years he exercised his 
powers as a Bhoodha. [See Note 44.] 


Legend of Palia Gadh. 

[1821, Part /.,//. 118, 119.] 

. In our preceding pages we have noticed Captain Hodgson's dis- 
covery of the sources of the Jumna and the Ganges;* and the fol- 
lowing curious extract from Mr. Fraser's tour to the sources of those 
celebrated rivers may be considered as interesting. It is a descrip- 
tion of a deep and dark glen named Palia Gadh, which strongly re- 
minds us of the celebrated tale of the Vampire. 

" But it would not be easy to convey by any description a just idea 
of the peculiarly rugged and gloomy wildness of this glen : it looks 
like the ruins of nature, and appears, as it is said to be, completely 
impracticable and impenetrable. Little is to be seen except dark 
rock ; wood only fringes the lower parts and the water's edge ; per- 
haps the spots and streaks of snow, contrasting with the general 
blackness of the scene, heighten the appearance of desolation. No 

1 See VoLLXXXIX., i., p. 350. [Arepoit of She meeting of the Asialic Society.] 

2 78 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

living thing is seen ; no motion but that of the waters ; no sound but 
their roar. Such a spot is suited to engender superstition, and here 
it is accordingly found in full growth. Many wild traditions are pre- 
served, and many extravagant stories related of it 

" On one of these ravines there are places of worship not built by 
men, but natural piles of stones, which have the appearance of small 
temples. These are said to be the residence of the dewtas, or spirits, 
who here haunt and inveigle human beings away to their wild abodes. 
It is said that they have a particular predilection for beauty in both 
sexes, and remorselessly seize on any whom imprudence or accident may 
have placed within their power, and whose spirits become like theirs 
after they are deprived of their corporeal frame. Many instances 
were given of these ravishments. On one occasion, a young man 
who had wandered near their haunts, being carried in a trance to the 
valley, heard the voice of his own father, who some years before had 
been thus spirited away, and who now recognised his son. It appears 
that paternal affection was stronger than the spell that bound him, and 
instead of rejoicing in the acquisition of a new prey, he recollected 
the forlorn state of his family deprived of their only support. He 
begged and obtained the freedom of his son, who was dismissed 
under the injunction of strict silence and secrecy. He, however, 
forgot his vow, and was immediately deprived of speech ; and, as 
a self-punishment, he cut out his tongue with his own hand. This 
man was said to be yet living, and I desired that he should be 
brought to rne, but he never came, and they afterwards informed me 
that he had very lately died. More than one person is said to have 
approached the spot, or the precincts of these spirits, and those who 
have returned have generally agreed in the expression of their feel- 
ings, and have uttered some prophecy. They fall, as they say, into 
a swoon, and between sleeping and waking hear a conversation, or 
are sensible of certain impressions as if a conversation were passing, 
which generally relates to some future event. Indeed, the prophetic 
faculty is one of the chiefly remarkable attributes of these spirits, 
and of this place." 

On the Cremation of Indian Widows. 

[1827, Part I., pp. 409-412.] 

The revolting and horrid practice of burning annually in India 
above a thousand weak and deluded Hindoo widows, has justly excited 
in this country strong feelings of disgust, unalleviated by any well- 
founded hope of terminating so cruel and atrocious a custom. Re- 
strictive means have been deemed ineligible, as this dreadful act 
of s: ; f-immolation is pretended to be committed under the sanction 
of religion ; though it is well known that in general the obtaining of 
a share of the property of the infatuated victim is the actuating motive 

On the Cremation of Indian Widows. 2 79 

of insidious Brahmins and interested relatives. A tax on cremation 
would, as the price of blood, be equally disgraceful and nugatory. 
Rewards and bribes would involve a loss of character, and cut off a 
source of greater profit During my surveys on Sumatra, I saw a 
man of the Batta-anthropophagi confined in a cage, where he was 
well fed, in order to be publicly devoured ; and on two poles con- 
tiguous were the skulls of persons recently feasted on. The servants 
of the Company had frequently bought off such unfortunate crea- 
tures, till this very humanity was converted by these savages into a 
bounty on cannibalism. Avarice, fanaticism, arid delusion are opposed 
to every inadequate remedy hitherto proposed to remove an evil of 
the most distressing description. 

The law of the case is little known ; and as this shocking wicked- 
ness is frequently brought to the notice of the Legislature, it may be 
well to state it, as it may appear that a remedy may arise out of the 
transgression of the law itself, and, paradoxical as it may seem, by the 
enforcement of the law of burning in its very letter. The resident 
servant of the Company is called on to authorize the cruel sacrifice ; 
and all he can do is to try dissuasives, to see that the wretched female 
has not been stupefied by intoxicating drugs, and to hear from herself 
a feeble assent of her destruction, often the effect of terror, or a dis- 
turbed and phrensied mind. Let us then see whether death, in 
so tremendous a form, is sanctioned by, or inflicted according to, 
Hindoo law. 

The most celebrated Pundits and Hindoo scholars have proved in 
a clear and conclusive manner that these barbarous murders are con- 
trary to Hindoo law. Ramahun Ruya, an eminent scholar, proves 
that the Hindoo Shastras are opposed to the custom. Ungeera, 
Harecta, Purasura, and Vayasa are public writers who only recom- 
mend the practice, promising the widow a connubial happiness of 
thirty-five millions of years in heaven, forgiveness for the most licen- 
tious life, and the purification of all her family. A celebrated writer, 
Vishnoo Resee, directs a widow to dedicate herself to Brumhachuya 
that is, to lead a life of self-denial and austerity of so severe a 
nature that few can conform to it ; in which case, it is recommended 
to the widow to ASCEND, of her mini accord, the funeral pile IN 
FLAMES, with some article which belonged to her husband. He 
exempts the widows of Brahmins, afterwards included. Munoo, the 
greatest of their legislators, does not recommend burning, but pre- 
scribes a life of mortification and austerity. He says that widows 
ought to pass their lives in Brumhachuya, or strict austerity. The 
Hindoos believe " that any moral precepts contrary to the doctrine of 
MUNOO are unworthy of praise." The artful Brahmins attempt to 
do away the clear and decided, positive prcupt of Munoo, the acknow- 
ledged chief of Hindoo literature, by urging that the recommendations 
of more than one ought to outweigh, the injunction of Munoo, which 

280 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

amounts to begging the question. The words of the Veda confirm 
Munoo's rational doctrine, "as by means of living, still the duties 
usual and occasional can be performed to purify the mind ; and as 
by hearing of, and fixing our minds, and devoting our souls to 
Brumah, or the supreme spirit, we can attain it [final beatitude or 
absorption in Brumah] ; no woman should therefore spend her life 
[that is, suffer death] in hopes of obtaining surga, or bliss in heaven." 
The Hindoo religion supposes rewards and punishments proportioned 
in duration to sublunary conduct, after which, according to their 
metempsychosis, the soul is to undergo multiplied and various trans- 
migrations, till it becomes so pure as to attain " absorption into 
Brumah," or, as the Romans had it, " Est Deus in nobis, agitante 
calescimus illo." The woman who burns herself is not exempt from 
these transmigrations ; and therefore, the best Hindoo writers recom- 
mend to her a life of abstinence and correctness in preference to 

The advocates for burning say, that women are so constituted as 
to be unable to go through the prescribed rigid course of required 
austerity for attaining beatitude in heaven; and that by burning they 
at once secure thirty-five millions of years of happiness. The writers 
on the other side argue, that women would act thus from improper 
motives of cupidity and selfishness, whereas they ought to place their 
glory in leading a life of purity, self-denial, and penance, according to 
the Veda, and the sacred tenets of the great law-giver Munoo. Harieta 
lays it down that, " unless a widow burns in the fire, she cannot get 
rid of her feminine body," in order that, after her long term of married 
happiness in heaven, she might go through numberless transmigrations, 
and be ultimately assimilated to Brumah, or the great Deity. The 
sacred lawgiver Munoo says, that a life of abstinence and virtue is 
alone sufficient to lead the widow to this final happiness, and that to 
prevent a life of misconduct and impurity, burning cannot be indis- 
pensably necessary. There cannot be a more striking proof of a low 
state of civilization than that women, the mothers of families, should 
be reckoned so totally devoid of every sense of honour and shame, 
that a dreadful and cruel death can alone confer a posthumous cha- 
racter ; and that they are enticed to this by a promise of a long course 
of sensuality, after which they are liable to be burnt over again, by 
an unavoidable return to an earthly condition. The Brahmins who 
made these absurd laws are extremely immoral and licentious ; and 
if we are to judge from among ourselves, the law, as a punishment of 
vice, might be more applicable to the widower than to his unfortunate 
and murdered relict. 

This distressing subject is frequently brought before the British 
Legislature, and it must be evident that there is no law which pre- 
scribes suicide in the shape of burning on a funeral pile. If the 
widow, tinintoxifafed, declares to the English magistrate her deter- 

On the Cremation of Indian Widows. 281 

mined resolution to be burnt with the body of her deceased husband, 
or with some article which (this was an artful contrivance to secure 
posthumous sacrifices) belonged to him, the civil power in India can 
no more prevent the crime than they can human sacrifices in temples, 
and the multiplied gross and immoral acts of the deep-rooted and 
degrading systematic superstition, which in a course of centuries will 
yield to civilization, followed by Christianity. 

Let us now consider whether, in a violation of the legal mode of 
burning, a remedy against a cruel death can be found. The advocates 
on both sides of the question admit that the Shastras direct " that the 
woman shall mount the BURNING PILE." Human nature was found 
to shrink from so dreadful a resolution ; and the Brahmins, to secure 
their victim, though unauthorized by the Hindoo law, always have the 
living tied to the dead body, and order that the pile shall not be 
lighted till this precaution renders escape from agony and suffering 
utterly impossible. Previously to the introduction of this diabolical 
contrivance, when the poor female, amidst flames and torture, at- 
tempted escape, she was held down in the fire by the inhuman 
monsters around her by means of bamboos and long poles. This is 
anything but "a voluntary ascent to a burning pile." It having been 
found that feelings of horror arose in the minds of the more humane 
spectators, on seeing the half-burnt sufferer escape from the flames, 
by the consumption of the ligatures, and that she was driven back 
into the fire, a cunning expedient, preventing the possibility of escape, 
was had recourse to. A frame surcharged with weights was suspended 
over the pile. When the miserable victim began to writhe in agonies, 
four ruffians cut the ropes holding the frame in suspension, and it de- 
scended, so contrived as to secure the continuation of the burning 
sacrifice on an unhallowed altar, while the yells of surrounding savages, 
and the noise of drums and discordant instruments, drowned the 
shrieks of the dying victim. All this process is utterly unsanctioned 
by law; and it repeatedly prescribes that the widow shall, " of her 
own free will and accord, mount A BURNING PILE." She is required 
by law to pronounce the sunkulpa in these words, " I WILL MOUNT 
THE BURNING PILE." To be within the scope of the words, the Brah- 
mins direct the pile to be a little lighted at one corner, just before the 
widow is laid on it. The Vishnoo Moonshee has it, " let the wife 
embrace either a life of abstinence and chastity, or MOUNT THE BURNING 
PILE." The Noryuya Sindhoo positively directs that no bandages, 
bamboos, or wood shall be used in any shape to prevent escape. 
To prove that the pile must be in flames round the dead body before 
the devoted widow mounts it, the Soodheekoumoode says, "Let the 
mother enter the fire, after the son has kindled it around his father's 
corpse ; but to the father s corpse, and to the mother, let him not set fire. 
Jf the son set fire to the LIVING mother, he has on him the guilt of 
murdering both a woman and a mother.'" 

282 C^tstoms of Foreign Countries. 

In the page of history, we see what human nature, under very 
different circumstances, and from exalted motives, is capable of 
enduring. Though an excellent Bishop, from a sense of remorse, 
and the heroic Mutius, from excited feelings, voluntarily burnt off a 
hand, we are not to conclude that a weak female, actuated only by 
cupidity and ambition, will ASCEND A FUNERAL PILE IN FLAMES, as 
positively required by law. The original lawgivers founded their 
hopes on the effects of fanaticism and religious enthusiasm. Their 
successors, finding human nature unequal to encounter, voluntarily, 
a fiery trial, and death amidst fierce flames, perverted the law, so as 
to render it subservient to their atrocious purposes. We thus see, 
tli at the prevention of a dreadful crime lies in the very enforcement of 
the rigour of the law; for by acting thus, where we cannot do better, 
we shall experience what the Brahmins did, which is, that not one 
woman out of a hundred destroyed illegally at present, will be found 
to sacrifice herself, as must be required, according to the express 
letter of the original law. This procedure will save thousands ; and 
is the only efficient remedy, till civilization and Christianity shall 
totally abolish a barbarous usage. It is supposed that the unnatural 
practice of burning arose from the frequent poisoning of Brahmins by 
their neglected and ill-treated wives. The law was founded on a 
principle of revenge ; and even the recommendation of a life of 
unnecessary austerity, deprived the widow, in this world, of all 
chance of happiness. Twenty further authorities might be adduced, 
to show that the motives for burning are unworthy, and that a life 
of chastity and abstinence are preferable. The Sankya states this 
alone to be lawful, while the Meermanosha allows the choice of 
either. The laws declare that " no blame whatever is attached to 
those w)io prevent a woman's burning;" and also, that "all who 
dissuade her from burning act laudably." If the widow recoils at the 
sight of the raging pile, the fine is only a kahuna of couries, or about 
half a crown. The law prescribes in this case, that " the widow 
should be treated by her neighbours precisely as before." 

Vishnoo Moonoo forbids burning, and the learned Pundits say, 
that his precept, "be thou a companion of thy husband in life and in 
death" means a regular life, which may ensure future happiness with 
her husband. Mrityoonjuya says, that all writers against the practice 
incur no blame, because preventing the destruction of life is the 
strongest of the Hindoo tenets. Out of a population of a hundred 
millions, forty millions, at least, must be Hindoo women ; and the 
comparatively few who immolate themselves must be a proof that the 
law is understood as it ought, and that the victims who suffer, are 
induced to sacrifice themselves by artful Brahmins and avaricious 
relations. The English, on their part, will assuredly prevent nearly 
all of these self-murders, by seeing that the deceived and infatuated 
object, in her sober senses, and without interference, MOUNTS THE 

On the Cremation of Indian Widows. 283 

RAGING FUNERAL PILE ; and that as this is the strict law, such 
conduct cannot be objected to. This requisite procedure will save 
thousands ; and increases not the sufferings of the victim. [See 

[1828, Parti., p. 35.] 

The barbarous Indian practice of burning widows alive is so 
generally known, that any proof of the fact, or description of the 
ceremony, would here be superfluous. But, on the subject of 
antiquity, I beg permission to say a few words. 

Without inquiring at what remote period the custom originated, or 
on what particular occasion, I content myself with observing, that the 
knowledge of it had made its way to Rome before the birth of Christ, 
since we find it noticed by the poet Propertius, who died about nine- 
teen years previous to that event ; and who mentions it, not as some- 
thing altogether novel and inaudite, but as matter of public notoriety. 
I will here quote his own words (lib. iii., xiii. 15) 

" Felix Eois lex funeris una maritis, 

Quos Aurora suis rubra colorat equis : 
Namque, ubi mortifero jacta est fax ultima lecto, 

Uxorum positis stat pia turba comis ; 
Et certamen habent leti, qua; viva sequatur 

Conjugium : pudor est, non licuisse mori. 
Ardent victrices, tH flammce pectora priebent ; 

Imponuntque suis ora perusta viris." 

This passage is the more remarkable, as pointing to a funereal rite 
of still greater antiquity that of the surviving friends cutting off 
their hair for an offering to the spirit of the deceased. (See the 
Funeral of Patroclus, in Homer, and the Prophecy of Ezechiel, 
xxvii. 31.) 

While I have the pen in my hand, it may not be amiss to observe, 
that the word " Una," in the first of the lines above quoted, was not 
intended by the poet to be understood in the common acceptation, 
but as "unique, unparalleled, superlative" Lex una felix, "singularly 
fortunate" as Catullus (xxii. 10) has "UNUS caprimulgus," "the 
veriest clodpoll on earth " and Horace (Sat. ii., iii. 24) : 

"ffortos, egrcgiasqtu domos, mercarier UNUS 

Cum lucro ndram" 
"None like me for a bargain." 

Yours, etc., JOHN CAREY. 
[i766,//. 542, 543.] 

Among other historical facts, Mr. Hollwell gives the following cir- 
cumstantial account of the burning a Gentoo lady with her husband's 
body : 

" At five of the clock in the morning of the 4th of February, 
1742-3, died Rbaam Chund Pundit, of the Mahabrattor tribe, aged 

284 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

twenty-eight years ; his widow (for he had but one wife) aged between 
seventeen and eighteen, as soon as he expired, disdaining to wait 
the term allowed her for reflection, immediately declared to the 
Bramin and witnesses present her resolution to burn ; as the family 
was of no small consideration, all the merchants of Coffimbuzaar, 
and her relations, left no arguments unessayed to dissuade her from 
it Lady Russel, with the tenderest humanity, sent her several 
messages to the same purpose ; the infant state of her children (two 
girls and a boy, the eldest not four years of age), and the terrors and 
pain of the death she sought, were painted to her in the strongest 
and most lively colouring ; she was deaf to all. She gratefully 
thanked Lady Russel, and sent her word she had now nothing to 
live for, but recommended her children to her protection. When 
the torments of burning were urged in terrorem to her, she, with a 
resolved and calm countenance, put her finger into the fire, and held 
it there a considerable time ; she then, with one hand, put fire in the 
palm of the other, sprinkled incense on it, and fumigated the Bramins. 
The consideration of her children left destitute of a parent was 
again urged to her. She replied : He that made them would take 
care of them. She was at last given to understand she should not 
be permitted to burn ;* this, for a short space, seemed to give her 
deep affliction, but soon recollecting herself, she told them, Death 
was in her power, and that if she was not allowed to burn, accord- 
ing to the principles of her caste, she would starve herself. Her 
friends, finding her peremptory and resolved, were obliged at last to 

" The body of the deceased was carried down to the water-side 
early the following morning ; the widow followed about ten o'clock, 
accompanied by three very principal Bramins, her children, parents, 
and relations, and a numerous concourse of people. The order of 
leave for her burning did not arrive from Hosseyn Khan, Fouzdaar 
of Morshadabad, until after one, and it was then brought by one of 
the Soubah's own officers, who had orders to see that she burnt 
voluntarily. The time they waited for the order was employed in 
praying with the Bramins, and washing in the Ganges. As soon as 
it arrived, she retired and stayed for the space of half-an-hour in the 
midst of her female relations, amongst whom was her mother. She 
then divested herself of her bracelets, and other ornaments, and 
tyed them in a cloth, which hung like an apron before her, and was 
conducted by her female relations to one corner of the pile ; on the 
pile was an arched arbour, formed of dry sticks, boughs, and leaves, 
open only at one end to admit her entrance. In this the body of 
the deceased was deposited, his head at the end opposite to the 
opening. At the corner of the pile, to which she had been con- 

* The Gentoos are not permitted to burn without an order from the Mahom- 
medan Government, and this permission is commonly made a perquisite of. 

The Funeral Pile. 285 

ducted, the Bramin had made a small fire, round which she and the 
three Bramins sat for some minutes ; one of them gave into her 
hand a leaf of the bale-tree (the wood commonly consecrated to 
form part of the funeral pile) with sundry things on it, which she 
threw into the fire ; one of the others gave her a second leaf, which 
she held over the flame, whilst he dropped three times some glue on 
it, which melted and fell into the fire (these two operations were 
preparatory symbols of her approaching dissolution by fire), and 
whilst they were performing this, the third Bramin read to her some 
portions of the Augblorrab Bhade, and asked her some questions, 
to which she answered with a steady and serene countenance ; but 
the noise was so great we could not understand what she said, 
although we were within a yard of her. These over, she was led 
with great solemnity three times round the pile, the Bramins reading 
before her ; when she came the third time to the small fire, she 
stopped, took her rings off her toes and fingers and put them to her 
other ornaments ; here she took a solemn majestic leave of her 
children, parents, and relations ; after which one of the Bramins 
dipt a large wick of cotton in some glue, and gave it ready lighted 
into her hand, and led her to the open side of the arbour ; there, 
all the Bramins fell at her feet. After she had blessed them, they 
retired weeping ; by two steps she ascended the pile, and entered the 
arbour. On her entrance she made a profound reverence at the feet 
of the deceased, and advanced and seated herself by his head ; she 
looked in silent meditation on his face for the space of a minute, then 
set fire to the arbor in three places ; observing that she had set fire to 
leeward, and that the flames flew from her, instantly seeing her 
error, she rose and set fire to windward, and resumed her station. 
Ensign Daniel, with his cane, separated the grass and leaves on the 
windward side, by which means we had a distinct view of her as 
she sat. With what dignity and undaunted a countenance she set 
fire to the pile the last time, and assumed her seat, can only be con- 
ceived, for words cannot convey a just idea of her. The pile being 
of combustible matter, the supporters of the roof were presently con- 
sumed, and it fell in upon her. 

The Funeral Pile. 

[1751, //. 54,55-] 


This Prince, who was eighty years old, dying, his wives and 
concubines, in number forty-seven, were, according to the custom of 
the country, to be burnt on his funeral pile. In order to this, they 
dug without the walls of the imperial city a large pit, which they 
filled with wood, ranged and piled up, as for a bonfire. The corpse 

286 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

of the deceased, richly habited and adorned, was brought forth in 
great pomp, and laid on the pile ; after which the Bramins (heathen 
priests) kindled the fire with abundance of superstitious ceremonies. 
The wives and concubines of the deceased, finely decked with jewels 
and adorned with flowers, walked several times round the funeral 
pile. The favourite wife or concubine carried the poniard of the 
defunct prince, which she delivered up to his successor, and made a 
short speech, exhorting him to use it with moderation, so as never to 
let it light on any but the guilty. Then she boldly turned her face 
towards the pile, and, after invoking her gods, leapt into the midst of 
the flames. The second was the sister of a prince named Tandamen, 
who was present at these horrid rites. She gave him the jewels she 
wore, and the prince, in receiving them, embraced her most tenderly 
and poured out a flood of tears ; but the princess, without betraying 
the least concern, looked alternately with a steady countenance on 
the pile and on the spectators, and crying with a loud voice " Chiva! 
Chiva !" which is the name of one of her gods, she jumped as reso- 
lutely into the flames as the first did. The others followed her close. 
Some of them appear'd resolute enough, but others look'd wild and 
dejected ; one in particular, being more dismay'd than her com- 
panions, ran to embrace one of the spectators, who was a Christian, 
praying him to save her ; but this was not in his power to do. and 
the poor wretch was immediately tumbled headlong into the fire. 
However intrepid most of these unhappy victims appear'd before 
jumping into the pit, they shriek'd hideously amid the flames, 
tumbled one over another, striving to reach the edge of the pit ; but 
they were kept in, by throwing heaps of billets and faggots upon 
them, as well to knock them on the head as to increase the fire. 
When they were consumed, the Bramins drew near the yet smoaking 
pile, and perform'd abundance of ridiculous ceremonies over the 
ashes of the poor wretches. The next day they gather'd up the 
bones, and having wrapt them up in fine linen, carried them to a 
place near the Isle of Ramesuren, where they cast them into the sea. 
After this the pit was filled up, and a temple since erected on the 
spot, where sacrifices are offer'd up in honour of the prince and his 
wives, who from thenceforth are number'd among the saints or god- 

Account of the Hindoo Ceremony of Swinging. 

[I nS,fart I., pp. 389, 390.] 

Together with this you will receive a lancet and two iron hooks 
(each fixed to a yard or more of strong Chiar rope) exactly as they 
were taken from the back of one of the devotee Hindoos, immediately 
after he had undergone the religious ceremony of SWINGING. [An 
illustration of the. 110 is given,] 

Account of the Hindoo Ctrcmony of Swinging. 287 

I know of no writer who has given so just and accurate a descrip- 
tion of that extraordinary ceremony as the author of " The Medical 
Spectator;" an extract from whose useful and entertaining work I am 
persuaded you will deem worthy of transcribing. It will be evident 
from his account that the ceremony, as performed in Bengal, differs 
from that on the coast of Coromandel, of which the Gentleman's 
Magazine for March, 1791, has a drawing. 


" A few days after this, came on the annual custom of Swing- 
ing, which is so very remarkable that it well deserves to be 
particularly described. Upon this day, almost every two or three 
hundred yards that we travelled near Calcutta (and I suppose the 
custom is general in Bengal), we saw a sort of mast erected, upon the 
top of which was a cross beam like the mainyard of a ship, but so 
fixed as to admit of being turned round with velocity. From each 
end of the cross-beam hung a rope ; and wherever one of those 
machines was erected, there was generally a large concourse of the 
natives and other inhabitants. The top of the machine was as high 
from the surface of the ground as the main-top of a ship of two hun- 
dred tuns burthen is from the deck. 

"Everything being ready for the Swinger, he kneels upon the 
ground, when a very dextrous operator fixes two strong iron hooks 
into the common integuments betwixt his shoulders, on each side of 
the spinal processes. A short rope is fixed to each of these hooks, 
and again to the rope hanging down from one end of the cross-beam. 
As soon as this is done, several of the crowd lay hold of the rope 
which hangs from the opposite arm of the cross-beam, and, first 
hoisting him gradually as high as the top of the machine, run round 
as quick as possible ; and in this manner, for the space of one, two, 
or three minutes, or as long as the man can bear it, they continue to 
whisk him round in the air. They stop gradually, and let him down 
gently : and, as soon as one is disengaged from the hooks, another 
is fixed, and swings in the same shocking manner. As the whole 
weight of the body rests upon the hooks, and they do not penetrate 
deep, it is remarkable that the integuments should not give way. If 
this accident were to happen, the unlucky swinger would certainly be 
killed, for he is turned round with so much velocity, that he would 
fly over the tops of trees or houses like a stone from a sling. I sup- 
pose this accident may have happened, as some while they are 
swinging have a folded cloth over the breast and shoulders, which, if 
the integuments should give way, might be caught by the hooks ; but 
many went through the ceremony without this caution. While the 
man continues to swing, he seems generally to be quite chearful, 
waving his hand or turban to the crowd below him, and throwing 
plantains and other fruit among them from a little bag hanging at his 

288 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

breast. But they do not all go through this exercise with the same 
ease and apparent satisfaction ; for some call out to be let down very 
early; and the extracting of the hooks gives all of them much 
pain. I saw a fine stout fellow, one of the bearers of my own palan- 
quin, painted red and white in the most horrid manner, hoisted up ; 
but, very much to his mortification, he was obliged to be let down 

" When the operator fixes the hooks, the skin is pinched up in the 
same manner as when a surgeon is going to make a seton. Upon 
the point of each hook there is a sharp lancet ; and, as the curved 
part of the hook is thicker than the broadest part of the lancet, it 
pluggs up the wound, and both hooks are sometimes fixed without 
the appearance of blood ; but blood flows from the wounds when the 
hooks are extracted. When this is done, the operator applies a green 
leaf and a little greasy liniment, and the swinger marches off with 
more or less eclat, in proportion to the fortitude he hath displayed. 

" In one place these machines were so near as to be within the 
distance of half a stone's throw from each other. And here 1 saw an 
old reverend Bramin carried upon a litter through the crowd ; he 
had a paper in his hand, which appeared to be written in Persian 
characters ; and he seemed to be giving some exhortation from it. 

" All the information that I could get from our Banyan relative to 
this strange custom was that they swing for a good conscience. This bar- 
barous custom was originally practised by the Bramins themselves, in 
order to show the people how little they regarded bodily pain ; at pre- 
sent it is confined to that class or caste of people, as they are called in 
' this country, who bear the palanquins. When an European gentle- 
man first goes on shore in Bengal, he will very soon get into a palan- 
quin, and, amongst the four or six bearers who attend him, he will 
observe some who have got marks of the wounds made on their backs 
by the swinging-hooks. They have a pride in the number of these 
marks. I have counted a dozen betwixt one pair of shoulders. . . , 

Barampore Religious Ceremony. 

[1806, Part II., p. 1126.] 

If the following extract from a letter written, as will be perceived by 
its date, above a twelvemonth since, though but very lately received, 
from a young officer in the service of the Hon. East India Company, 
to a very near relative in this country, should appear to you, as it 
does to me, likely to be acceptable to those amongst your readers 
who take an interest in accounts of foreign climes and customs, you 
may depend on its perfect authenticity ; and, by inserting it in your 
amusing and instructive Miscellany, you perhaps may oblige them, as 
you certainly will, Sir, Yours, etc., N. 

Barampore Religious Ceremony. 289 

. . . "From the 26th of last May to the 2nd of June a land-wind set 
in every morning about nine o'clock, and continued till six in the 
evening. This wind was so insufferably hot and parching, that, 
added to the perpendicular rays of a scorching sun, everybody was 
half-dead with fatigue. During the night too the heat was quite 
oppressive ; as you will suppose when you are told, that a range of 
hills, not above four or five miles distant, were all on fire. The 
cause of this is, that the inhabitants of the hills (called Cones) set/ 
fire to the Bamboo and other bushes, with which these hills are 
covered, and the spots left bare by this conflagration are rendered 
fertile by the ashes, and ready for cultivation. The fire generally 
continues burning till the setting in of the rainy season in the beginning 
of June. 

"The rains were so late in setting in this year (viz. 1805) that the 
people began to apprehend a famine ; and a scarcity and dearness of 
rice had already taken place. To avert this impending evil, the 
Brahmins deemed it necessary that a victim should be offered up to 
procure rain. Accordingly a Faqueer, or religious beggar, came, 
whether voluntarily or not I cannot say, and, in case there was no 
rain in a certain time, he was to be burnt. I went with some other 
officers to see him, and found him seated on the ground surrounded 
by four beams of wood, which were on fire, and at the distance of 
two yards from him. He looked very pale, and emaciated, having 
been there some days, but seemed quite unconcerned, as he was 
smoking all the while. I do not recollect how many days were 
allowed him before he was to be burnt ; the rain, however, at length 
began, and, I believe, his life was saved. This all occurred in the 
village of Barampore a few months ago." 

Funeral Ceremonies of the Tatars. 

[1823, Part If., pp. 607, 608.] 
(from Mrs. Holderness 's Journey from Riga to the Crimea, 1827, 8vo.) 

I was present at the burial of an old woman who died in the village 
of Karagoss. This ceremony usually takes place about twelve hours 
after death. When the persons appointed to attend the funeral were 
assembled, the body was brought out of the house and laid upon a 
hurdle. Having first been well washed, some coarse new linen, sewn 
together in proper lengths for the purpose, was folded round it, and 
it was finally covered with the best kaftan and pelisse of the deceased. 
The corpse was next brought out by the bearers from the shed in 
which these preparations had been made, and placed upon the ground 
at some little distance. The Mulla, and some men hired to sing, 
then assembled round it, and some short ejaculatory prayers were 
offered, during which the women stood attentive a few paces from 

VOL. iv. 19 

290 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

the spot. After the prayers and singing were ended, the bearers 
raised the hurdle (which was affixed to very long poles, so as to allow 
four or five men to carry it, both before and behind), and set off at a 
very quick pace, almost running. The women instantly began crying 
and howling, and followed the corpse with loud lamentations to the 
extremity of the village. 

As the rapidity with which the bearers proceeded soon heated and 
tired them, they were relieved by others of the villagers, who all kept 
pace, and did not interrupt the procession for an instant by their 
changes. The priest and some men from another village attended 
on horseback. Arrived at the grave, which was prepared on the open 
Stepp, the body was placed on the ground, and the men gathered 
round it, praying as before. In the act of praying, they hold up the 
hand, as if reading from it, and at the close of the prayer pass one 
hand over the forehead, or both down either side of the face. This 
part of the ceremony being over, they all went to a short distance, 
and seating themselves in a ring, were read to by the Mulla and by 
some other persons. While this was going on, the son of the deceased 
distributed a small sum of money among those who were present, 
sending it round by one of his friends. My little boy being with me, 
he, among the rest, was offered a few kopeeks. These I at first was 
unwilling to let him take, but the man who brought them insisted on 
his accepting them ; and when I asked him for what purpose they 
were given, he replied, " To procure the prayers of those present tor 
the deceased, that she may be received into heaven." 

Having mixed a portion of quick-lime with the earth, they now 
prepared to put the corpse into the grave. This was dug perpen- 
dicularly for about four feet, at which depth an excavation was made 
on one side nearly large enough to admit the width of the body. In 
this excavated niche it was laid, and some papers* written by the 
Mulla were disposed about it ; one being placed on the breast, ex- 
pressive of the character of the deceased; another in the 'hand, in- 
tended likewise as a sort of passport at the gates of heaven ; and a 
third above the head, which is said to be an intimation to the Evil 
One to refrain from disturbing the bones of a true believer. These 
papers having been properly arranged, stakes were fixed obliquely 
across the grave, from the upper to the lower side, opposite the body. 
They were placed very close to each other, and a quantity of hay 
being put over them, the earth was thrown in, and large stones col- 
lected to cover the whole. The final ceremony at the grave is a 
repetition of prayers and singing ; the party then adjourn to the 

* I persuaded the Mulla to give me copies of these papers, but as they were 
written in Arabic I found difficulty in getting them translated. Having given 
them to a Tatar Sacerdotal for that purpose, I never received them again. I have 
little doubt that he handed them over to the EfTendi, who prevented their being 
icturned to me. 

Marriage Custom of the Abyssinians. 291 

house of the deceased, where they and others, including all relations 
and friends, are feasted for one, two, or three successive days, accord- 
ing to the power and possessions of the mourners. After the dis- 
persion of the other attendants, the Mulla remains alone and reads 
by the grave. 

The Tatars believe that the spirits of the bad walk for forty days 
after death. In this case, they say, it is requisite to uncover the 
grave, and either shoot the dead body, cut off its head, or take out 
its heart. 

I once inquired of a Tatar if the passports given to the dead were 
indiscriminately granted to all ; and when he answered in the affirma- 
tive, I further asked him how a favourable character could be con- 
scientiously given to such persons as a known robber or murderer. 
"We believe,' said he, "that none are so bad as that some good may 
not be found in them, and that the soul will only remain in hell till 
it has expiated the sins committed in this life, or until Mahomet has 
made sufficient intercession for it." 

Marriage Custom of the Abyssinians. 

[1802, Part 1., p. 308.] 

The Abyssinians, who for the most part profess Christianity, have a 
custom which, as far as I can learn, is peculiar to themselves. When 
they marry, the father of the bride makes a present to the bridegroom 
of money, movables, or cattle, according to his circumstances, and 
the nuptials are celebrated by the relations of both parties with much 
festivity and mirth. On the next morning the bridegroom, if dissatis- 
fied with the match, takes a cup with a small hole in the bottom, 
which he covers with his finger, and pours in some wine and other 
liquor, which he presents to the father of the bride ; when the father 
has taken hold of the cup, he removes his finger from the hole, and 
the liquor runs out There is no conversation on the subject, but 
this is sufficient to inform all the company present that the young 
lady has been frail before marriage. The father takes his daughter 
and her dower home, and the marriage is declared null and void. 
On the contrary, if the bridegroom presents the father with a perfect 
cup, and they drink together, it denotes the entire approbation of the 
parties, and they are ever after looked upon as man and wife. 

Canary Islanders. 
[1764, //. 4-8.] 

.... It was a custom among them that, if a man entered his 
enemy's house by the door, and killed him or did him harm, he was 
not punished ; but if he came upon him by leaping over the wall, 
and killed him, then he was put to death, by placing his head 
upon a flat stone, and with another, of a round form, dashing out his 



292 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

The natives of Ferro Island gave their new-born children fern- 
roots, roasted, bruised, and mixed with butter, before they offered 
them the breast. . . . When anyone fell sick, they rubbed the body all 
over with sheep's marrow and butter, covering the patient well up to 
promote perspiration ; but if a man was cut or wounded, they burnt 
the part and anointed it with butter. They interred the dead in 
caves ; and if the deceased was wealthy, they buried him in his 
cloaths, and put a board at his feet, with the pole he used to travel 
with at his side, and then closed the cave with stones ..... 

.... They dwelt in large circular enclosures, the walls of which 
were of dry stone without cement, each enclosure having one narrow 
entry ; on the inside they placed poles or spars against the wall, in 
such a manner that one end rested on the top of the wall and the 
other on the ground at a considerable distance from it : these they 
covered with branches of trees or fern, and each enclosure contained 
about twenty families ..... 

.... They adored two Deities: one male, called Eraoranzan; the 
other female, called Monayha. The male was worshipped by the men ; 
the female by the women. Of these Deities they had no images or 
representations, nor did they offer them any sacrifice ; only prayed 
to them when they were in necessity ..... 

.... No Canarian had more than one wife. When a girl's parents 
were inclined to marry her, they set her apart thirty days to fatten, 
giving her large quantities of milk and pulse. . . . Among the Canarians 
were many religious women, called Magadas, a number of whom lived 
together in one house. These houses were held sacred, and criminals 
who fled thither were protected from officers of justice. ... In the 
island there were two rocks, to which they went in procession in 
times of publick calamity, accompanied by the Magadas, carrying in 
their hands branches of palms and vessels filled with milk and butter, 
which they poured on the rocks, dancing round them, and singing 
mournful songs. From these rocks they went to the seaside, and all 
at once struck the sea forcibly with the branches of palm, shouting 
together with a loud voice. 

/. 65-68.] 

.... When any of their nobles died, they brought out the corpse 
and placed it in the sun, took out the bowels and entrails, which they 
washed, and then buried in the earth ; the body they dried and 
swathed round with bandages of goat-skins, and then fixed it upright 
in a cave, clothed with the same garments that had covered it alive: 
if no cave was at hand, they enclosed it within loose stones, so laid 
as not to touch it, and covered it with a large stone at the top. The 
lower class were buried in pits, and covered with dry stones ; those 
bodies that were not placed upright were laid with their heads towards 
the North. . 

Cosmogony of (he Taheiteans. 293 

In each district of Palma Island there was a great pillar or pyramid 
of loose stones ; at this pillar the natives assembled at stated times, 
singing and dancing round it, wrestling, and performing other feats 
of activity. In one of the districts there was a natural pyramid up- 
wards of 100 fathoms high, where the natives worshipped their god 
Idafe, whose name the rock still retains. They were in perpetual 
apprehension of its tumbling down, and therefore whenever they 
killed a sheep or a goat, they roasted a piece of it, which they sent 
by two persons as a present to the rock. As they went along, he 
who carried the offering sang, " It will fall, Idafe ;" to which the 
other replied, " Give to it, and it will not fall." They then threw 
down the meat, and both went away, leaving it to be devoured by 
the ravens which hover'd about the rock. 

The natives held the sun and moon in great veneration, and kept 
an exact account of time to know when the moon was new or at the 
full They also acknowledged one supreme deity, whom they called 
Abora, and believed to reside in the Heavens. They had a super- 
stitious notion that the Devil, whom they called Irvene, frequently 
appeared in the form of a shock dog. When any one of them was 
taken ill, he sent for his relations and friends, and said to them, " 7 
want to die ;" upon which they carried him into a cave, where they 
laid him down upon a bed of goat-skins, put a pitcher of milk by 
him, and then closing up the mouth of the cave, left him to expire 
by himself. . . . 

Cosmogony of the Taheiteans. 

[1825, Part II., pp. 387-39I-] 

It has been asserted more than once in some of your pages, that 
there is not the least resemblance in the mythologic traditions and 
Pagan superstition of the inhabitants of the South Seas to those of 
the old world. Cut off for many years from all intercourse with the 
Continent, bounded in their transactions by the group of islands in 
their own more immediate neighbourhood, it could not be expected 
that much primitive tradition would be preserved. If we further take 
into consideration the frequent occurrence of war, and the almost 
exterminating conduct with which it is carried on, astonishment will 
arise, not at the paucity of such indications, but that even the 
slightest trace should exist of former connection with the rest of the 

I do not profess to be fully competent to the inquiry, my knowledge 
of the Australian language being very limited; but I doubt not with 
that intimate acquaintance with its different dialects which the 
missionaries have obtained, should anyone undertake such an in- 
vestigation, the search would not be altogether fruitless. A long 
time has elapsed since the voyagers of the South Seas formed a part 

294 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

of my reading; as, however, the few memoranda on this subject, 
which I then made, may show that such an investigation would not 
be without encouragement, I transmit to you the following 

Cosmogony of the Taheiteans. 

Dr. Hawkesworth, in his relation of Cook's first voyage to the 
South Seas, observes : " Nothing is more obvious to a rational being, 
however ignorant or stupid, than that the universe and its various 
parts, as far as they fall under his notice, were produced by some 
agent inconceivably more powerful than himself; and nothing is 
more difficult to be conceived, even by the most sagacious and 
knowing, than the production of them from nothing, which among 
us is expressed by the word Creation. It is natural, therefore, as no 
Being apparently capable of producing the universe is to be seen, 
that he should be supposed to reside in some distant part of it, or to 
be in his nature invisible, and that he should have originally 
produced all that now exists in a manner similar to that in which 
Nature is renovated by the succession of one generation to another ; 
but the idea of procreation includes in it that of two persons, and 
from the conjunction of two persons these people imagine everything 
in the universe either originally or derivatively to proceed. . . ." 

Of the formation of the Universe, according to the ideas of the 
Taheiteans, we have the accounts of two priests : that most in detail 
was given by Manne-Manne, the chief-priest ; the other by Tupia, 
also a priest, and of great mystical learning. Neither of their state- 
ments, in the form in which we have them, can be considered as 
quite accurate ; Manne-Manne's being interpreted by an ignorant 
Swedish sailor in the English language, of which he could know little 
more than of that of O Taheite ; and Sir Joseph Banks, to whom 
Tupia's information was given, observing that " the religious language 
is, in Otaheite as in China, different from that which is in common 
use ; so that Tupia, who took great pains to instruct us, having no 
words to express his meaning which we understood, gave us lectures 
to very little purpose." 

Imperfect, therefore, as these accounts must be, and on the 
present occasion rendered still more so by my ignorance of the 
language not permitting me in many instances accurately to translate 
names under which much real information is often mystically veiled, 
a close connection with the Mosaic cosmogony must not be ex- 
pected ; still, however, a distorted resemblance may be traced in the 
following comparison. 

Mosaic. Taheitean. 

In the beginning God created In the beginning Tane (hus- 
thc heaven and the earth ; and band) took Taroa (earth) and 

Cosmogony of the Taheiteans. 


the earth was without form and 
void, and darkness was upon the 
face of the deep, and the Spirit 
of God moved upon the face of 
the waters. 

And God said, " Let there be 

light," and God called the 

light day, and the darkness he 
called night, etc.* 

And God said, " Let there 
be a firmament in the midst of 
the waters, and let it divide the 

waters from the waters,"f 

and God called the firmament 

And God said, " Let the waters 
under the heaven be gathered 
together unto one place, and let 
the dry land appear ;" and it was 
so, and God called the dry land 

And God said, " Let the earth 
bring forth grass, the herb yielding 
seed, and the fruit-tree yielding 
fruit, whose seed was in itself 
after its kind," and God saw that 
it was good, and the evening and 
the morning were the third day. 

And God said "Let there be 
lights in the firmament of the 
heaven to divide the day from 
the night ; and let them be for 
signs, and for seasons, and for 
days and years ; and let them be 

begat Avye (fresh water) Te Myde 
(the sea) and Awa (the water- 
spout). He also begat P6 (night 
or darkness) and Hooa no Eatooa 
(the Spirit of God) was called 
Fwhanow P6 (the offspring of 

Then he begat Mahanna (the 
sun) as well as Po (darkness). 

After this he begat Matai (the 
wind) and Arye (the sky). 

Then he made a rock, which 
he called Poppo-harra Harreha, \ 

(the messenger) and all 

the brethren and sisters of Ma- 
hanna (the sun) at his birth 
turned to earth. 

Mahanna having assumed the 
shape of a man, was called 
Oeroa TabSoa, (the very sacred 

) and he embraced the 

rock Poppo harra Harreha, which 
consequently produced Te Too- 

boo Amata hatoo (the 

branches) after which the rock 
returned to its original state, and 
Oeroa Tabooa died and returned 
to dust. 

When Mahanna (the sun) was 
begotten, his brethren and sisters 
all turned to earth, but Tane 
(creator) had another daughter, 

whose name was Townoo ( ) 

Mahanna therefore, under the 

* It is remarkable that in the Taheitean language the same word expresses both 
night and darkness. 

+ In the Taheitean account the several kinds of water are mentioned distinctively 
in the first part of the cosmogony. 

J This is an allegory for the genial influence of the sun on the earth in the 
production of vegetable substances. 


Customs of Foreign Countries. 

for lights in the firmament of the 
heaven to give light upon the 
earth;" and it was so, and God 
made two great lights, the greater 
to rule the day, and the lesser to 
rule the night ; he made the stars 
also. And God set them in the 
firmament of the heaven to give 
light upon the earth, and to rule 
over the day and over the night, 
and to divide the light from the 

And God said, " Let us make 
man in our image, after our like- 
ness ; and let them have do- 
minion," etc. So God created 
man in His own image, in the 
image of God created He him, 
male and female created He 

Behold the man is become as 
one of us to know good and evil, 
and now lest he put forth his 
hand and take also of the tree of 
life, and eat, and live for ever ; 
therefore the Lord God sent him 
forth from the garden of Eden to 
till the ground whence he was 

In the self-same day entered 
Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and 
Japhet, the sons of Noah, and 
Noah's wife, and the three wives 
of his sons with them. 

These are the families of the 

name and form of Oeroa Taboa 
took her to wife, and she con- 
ceived and bare thirteen children, 
who are the thirteen months. 
Their names were, i. Papeeree. 
2. Ownoonoo. 3. Pararomoree. 
4. Paroromoree. 5. Mooreha. 6. 
Heaiha. 7. Taoa. 8. Hoororoera. 
9. Hooreeama. 10. Teayre. n. 
Tetgi. 12. Waeho. 13. Weaha. 
After this Mahanna copulating 
with (eclipsing *) Malama (the 
moon) produced Whettua (the 

Te Tooboo amata hatoo em- 
braced the sand of the sea, which 
conceived a son of the name of 
Tee (inferior spirit f) and a daugh- 
ter called Opeera ( ). Te 

Teeboo amata hatoo dying, and 
returning to earth, Tee took his 
sister Opeera to wife. 

Opeera became ill, and in her 
illness she entreated her husband 
to cure her, and she would do the 
same for him if he fell sick, that 
thus they might live for ever ; 
but he refused, and she died. 

Tee having preferred his 
daughter, named Oheera Reene 

Moonoa (the unclean 

spirit)^ had by her three sons 
and three daughters : the sons 
were named Ora ( ) Wanoo 

* When an eclipse takes place, the Taheiteans suppose the luminaries to be in 
the act of copulation, a notion common to all Pagans. 

f This inferior spirit, sometimes bad and sometimes good, is like the manes of 
antiquity, the departed soul of a man, and then considered his guardian angel. 
The Taheitean description comes nearer (chap. ii. 7): "And the Lord God 
formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of 
life, and man became a living soul." 

J Or " unclean lying down." Moe is "to lie down," and Mooe is " the principle 
of life." I regret much that I am unable to translate Heera Reene, as much 
information might be derived therefrom. 

Cosmogony of the Taheiteans. 297 

sons of Noah after their genera- ( ) and Tytory ( ) the 

tions in their nations : and by daughters Hennatoomorroora 

these were the nations divided in ( ) Henaroa (tall ) and 

the earth after the flood. Noowya ( ). 

The father and mother dying, 
the brothers and sisters said, 
" Let us take our sisters to wife 
and become many." So men 
began to multiply upon the 

Here ends the curious specimen given by Manne-Manne ; Tupia's 
account to Sir Joseph Banks was as follows : 

The Supreme Deity, one of the two first beings according to the 
traditions of Taheite, is called Taroa Taihe Toomoo (causer of 
earthquakes), and the other whom they suppose to have been a rock, 
Te Papa * (the sky). A daughter of these was T'ettow Mata Tayot 

(the friend), the year or thirteen months collectively, and she, 

by the common father, produced the months, and the months by 
conjunction with each other, the days. The stars are partly the 
immediate offspring of the first pair, and the remainder have in- 
creased among themselves ; the different species of plants were 
produced in the same manner. Among other progeny of Taroa 
Taihe Toomo and Te Papa were an inferior race of deities, who are 
called Eatua. Two of these Eatuas (or inferior spirits) at some very 
remote period of time inhabited the earth, and were the parents of 
the first men. When this man, their common ancestor, was born, he 
was round like a ball, but his mother, with great care, drew out his 
limbs, and having at length moulded him as in man's present form, 
she called him Eothe (finished). He being prompted by the universal 
instinct to propagate his kind, and being able to find no female but 
his mother, he begot upon her a daughter, and upon the daughter 
other daughters for several generations before there was a son ; a son, 
however, being born, he with the assistance of his sisters peopled the 
world. Besides their daughter T'ettow Mata Tayo, the first progeni- 
tors of nature had a son whom they called Tane,* and as he takes a 
greater part in the affairs of mankind than the other gods, the 
Taheiteans generally address their prayers to him. 

Contemplating these strong but disguised resemblances, we cannot 

* "Papa," in the language of Tonga Taboo, signifies the sky or horizon, the 
English being called " Papa langee" (men of the sky). 

t This name the Taheiteans regard as so sacred that, except upon this occasion, 
they never mention it. 

Husband, and therefore the father and creator of all things. Their own 
ignorance of the origin of their traditions has led them into error, or they might be 
regarded as offering their prayers to the Deity under this title, rather than to 
address a separate god. 

298 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

but admit, and must do it with gratifying feelings, mixed with reve.- 
rential awe, that they exhibit the distorted features of the simple yet 
sublime detail of Moses ; and this circumstance acquires a stronger 
effect when it is remembered that it is an universal practice in all the 
tales of mythology, to make a person one while the father, and at 
another the son. The various characters of polytheism, and even 
those composing the same genealogy, have been fairly demonstrated 
by the pioneers to mystical lore, Bryant, Faber, Maurice, and Da vies, 
to be often but one and the same person ; we may therefore regard 
the Taheitean cosmogony as not altogether so wild and distempered 
a composition as it at first sight appears. 

Triune Deity of the Taheiteans. 

It is a fact no less curious than undeniable, that traces of that 
most abstruse doctrine of our faith, the blessed Trinity, are to be 
found, not only in the fabulous traditions of antiquity, but in the 
Pagan nations of the present day. The Brahminical Triad of India, 
which has received so much illustration from the indefatigable 
research and ingenuity of the late Rev. Mr. Maurice, is not a more 
striking evidence of this than the triune Deity of the Taheiteans. 
We learn from the missionary voyage, that the general name for the 
deity in all its ramifications is Eatooa, a word that seems to signify 
spiritual essence in opposition to matter. 

An appellation thus single with regard to itself, but admitting of 
the most extensive application, appears to carry with it the idea of 
one Supreme Being, and of His being contemplated under different 
characters. Accordingly on investigation we shall find this to be the 
case. The comprehensive title of the supreme god, Tupia told Sir 
Joseph Banks, was Taroa Taihe Toomo (the causer of earthquakes), 
a name of the most awful import in reference to Taheite, as that 
island, and the other Society Isles, are very frequently visited by this 
dreadful monitor of mortality. 

But, according to the missionaries, the Deity is also viewed in his 
threefold character ; for that is what is to be understood when they say, 
" Three are equally held supreme, standing in a height of celestial 
dignity, that no others can approach unto ; and what is more extra- 
ordinary, the names are personal appellations." Not only is the 
circumstance thus noticed as extraordinary, but the very import of 
the terms still more wonderfully striking. 

The triadic titles are : 
Tane, te Medooa (Creator, the father). 
2. Oro mattow, Tooa tee te Myda( God in the 

Eatooa (God) 


3. Taroa, Mannoo te Hooa (terrestrial bird, the 

* The holy spirit assuming on earth the form of a bird. That remarkable 
parallel passage, "The spirit of God descending" (i.e. coming to the earth) "like 
a dove," will naturally occur to everyone. 

Cosmogony of the Taheiteans. 299 

The eternity of the Triune Deity is clearly expressed by making 
him both singly and his threefold character Fwhanow Po (the off- 
spring of night or primaeval darkness). 

The missionaries considering these as they would Roman divinities 
have termed them Dii majores, and give us the following account. 
" To these dii majores they only address their prayers in times of 
greatest distress, and seasons of peculiar exigency, supposing them 
too exalted to be troubled with matters of less moment than the 
illness of a chief, storms, devastations, war, or any great calamity. 
Indeed, fear and suffering seem to be more motives to worship than 

From the same source we learn that " the house of these Fwhanow 
Po," by which we are most probably to understand the temple where 
they were worshipped, is as Oparre, the residence particularly appro- 
priated to the Earhea rahie (sovereign, or supreme lord) or king. 

I shall, probably, if I succeed in collecting my memoranda, 
trouble you with some remarks on the mythology of other Australian 

S. R. M. 

Manners and Customs of the Natives of Hutaitee, etc. 
[1771, p. 407-] 


. . . We steered for Utahitee', in the latitude of 17 deg. 10 min. 
South, and longitude of 150 deg. 32 min. W., from the Meridian of 
(ireenwich, from whence Mr. Green made all his calculations. We 
continued here three months, and became as easy and familiar in the 
time as the natives, who are a kind, hospitable, active, sensible people. 
We married with their women, and enjoyed a felicity amongst them 
peculiar to the salubrity of so sweet a clime. As for my part, I never 
relinquished a situation with so much grief and dissatisfaction. The 
isle is well stocked with hogs, dogs, poultry, fish, and fruit ; particu- 
larly the bread-fruit, which, when baked, is superior to any made 
with wheat. At meals the great people are attended with many 
servants, who feed their masters, dipping their fingers every two 
mouthfuls into vessels with clean water. This is an idle luxury 
peculiar to this place. They have also plenty of yams here, and a 
fruit of most exquisite taste, like the European apple, with a stone 
within it like a peach. The people are active fishermen, and make 
all their lines of grass. There is a white hearn that frequents these 
isles, which the inhabitants call the " bird of God ;" they pay great 
respect to it, nor could we so much offend them as by shooting it. 
They have one particular belief in their religion, which would be a 

300 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

most humiliating thought with us : they are convinced that gentlemen 
in a future state will retain their rank, but that servants will ever be 
servants. Monsieur Bouganville had been here before us with two 
sail of ships, and brought the French disease among the poor people. 
He sailed from this place to Batavia, but made a fruitless voyage as 
well as Captain Wallace. 

We sailed from Utahitee" to Hou a Hanie, which is the Isle of 
handsome women, and is forty-five leagues west Utahitee'. Here we 
continued a week ; but our crew being injured by the villainy of 
Bouganville's people, the captain would not suffer them to go on 
shore. This Isle is esteemed more fertile and more wholesome than 
the rest and I vow, with the greatest sincerity, that it justly deserves 
the name for I never beheld such a beautiful race of women, so 
elegantly limbed, and so divinely featured. 

About the same distance from this Isle as Utahitee' is, lies Una- 
t&ha and Bolobolo ; the latter is distinguished and dreaded by the 
inhabitants of all the other isles, being near eighty in all. The 
natives of Bolobolo are a banditti who have been driven from the 
other places for capital crimes ; their punishments are only throwing 
them into the sea, and leaving them to gain some shore ; and Bolo- 
bolo has been the place they have always escaped to. This island 
being more mountainous than the rest, they always escape to the 
hills whenever they are pursued, and without license or fear invade 
the other islands, and carry off whatever they please. The name of 
a Bolobolo man is their greatest dread, and they repeatedly solicited 
us to destroy them with our guns. Whenever these villains take any 
prisoners, they always cut off their lower jaws, and leave the wretch 
to linger and die ; and from such acts of singular barbarity they are a 
terror to the other islanders. 

We coasted along the shore of New Holland, which is rocky and 
dangerous, from 40 deg. of south latitude to 10 deg., running more 
than twice the ship on shore : the last time was very near being fatal 
to us, the ship making so much water from the damage she received 
that we were obliged to lay her on shore, where she was neaped 
almost three weeks by the tides, and then we only looked at one side, 
for when we arrived at Batavia, we found in the opposite side a large 
piece of coral sticking, which, if it had dropped out at sea, the ship 
must have foundered in an instant. The savages were very trouble- 
some upon New Holland, attacking us very often ; and by setting all 
the sea-grass on fire round the ship, they were very near burning 
the vessel and blowing up all our powder. Upon this barbarous 
shore we took an uncommon curious animal, which weighed up 
wards of eighty pounds ; it was formed like a rat in the face and 
ran erect on its hinder legs. The savages, by way of ornament, 
run fish-bones through their noses, and are a warlike, stout people, for 
ever jealous of our encroachments, nor would they suffer us to land' 

Ceremonies of the Treaty with the Cherokees. 301 

without various attacks. Upon this inhospitable shore I shot a large 
dog, which, when we were at short allowance of provisions, we eat 
with great greediness, notwithstanding it had a most filthy taste ; but 
hunger will bring the human stomach to any repast when deeply 

We touched upon a small island called Suabu, about fourteen days' 
sail from iJatavia, where we met with every species of provisions in 
abundance, and where we also met with the first miracle in the world 
a country well inhabited, whereon fornication was never known. 

Ceremonies of the Treaty with the Cherokees. 

['755. /A 47o,47i-] 

Cannacaughte of Chotte, the head of the nation, having the pre- 
ceding day, the ist of July, summoned a council in his camp of all 
the headmen, acquainted them that as the business to be transacted 
the ensuing day was of great importance, it was proper that some 
person should be appointed who might do it with distinctness and in 
a way suitable to the solemnity of the act to be done ; that he him- 
self had never been accustomed to speak to white people : besides, 
that he now grew old, and perceived that he was still disordered by 
the fatigue of his journey (from their own lands) and could not do it 
either to his own satisfaction or the credit of his country ; he there- 
fore proposed that some fit person should be immediately named ; 
and accordingly Chulochcullah was elected, and received instructions 
how to behave and what to say. The same day he waited on the 
governor, and acquainted him with his appointment, and that he 
would punctually follow the instructions he had received. On 
Wednesday, July 2, Cannacaughte the chief, and the other Indians, 
arrived at the camp, which lay at three miles distance, and were 
received by the Governor as usual ; and his excellency and Canna- 
caughte being seated under an arbour, all the headmen and head 
warriors and Indians, to the number of 506, sitting all round on the 
ground under trees, Chulochcullan, the speaker, rose up, and holding 
a bow in one hand and a shaft of arrows in the other, he delivered 
himself in the following words : " What I am now to speak, our 
father the Great King George should hear. We are now brothers 
with the people of Carolina, and one house covers us all : the great 
king is our common father." At this time a little Indian child was 
brought to him, whom he presented to the governor, with these 
words : " We, our wives, and all our children, are the children of 
the great King George, and his subjects. He is our king, our head, 
and father ; and we will obey him as such. I bring this little child, 
that when he grows up he may remember what is now agreed to, and 
that he may tell it to the next generation, that so it may be handed 
down from one generation to another for ever." 

302 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

The Indian then opening a small leathern bag, in which was 
contained some earth, laid the same at his excellency's feet, adding, 
" That they gave all their lands to the King of Great Britain ; and as 
a token of it, they desired that this parcel of earth might be sent to 
the king, for they acknowledged him to be the owner of all their 
lands and waters." His excellency accepted the same, and promised 
that it should be sent to him. 

The Indian then opened another small bag of leather, filled with 
parched corn-flour, and said, " That, as a testimony that they not 
only delivered their lands, but all that belonged to them, to be the 
king's property, they gave the governor what was contained in that 
small bag, desiring that it might be sent also to the great King 

The Indian, then delivering a bow and arrows to the governor, in 
token of their obedience, desired " That he would acquaint the king 
their father that there was little or nothing that they could make : 
the bow and arrows which they delivered, to be laid at the great 
king's feet, were all the arms they could make for their defence ; they 
therefore hoped that he would pity the condition of his children, and 
send them arms and ammunition to defend them against his and 
their enemies; and they hoped their elder brother, the governor, would 
soon acquaint their father with it." . . . The Indian then, taking out 
some strings of white wampum, delivered the same to the governor, in 
confirmation of all that had passed; and said, " That their speech was 
now near an end; that though he had delivered it, and was the mouth 
of the nation, yet that every word he had spoken, and all that he had 
done, had been agreed upon at a general meeting and consultation of 
the headmen ; that he had delivered it in their presence and hearing ; 
and he hoped that he had executed the trust that they had reposed in 
him to their satisfaction." To which they unanimously and with one 
voice assented. 

Customs of Guiana in S. America. 
[i 763, A 632.] 

. . . Those who wish to marry him present him with something to 
drink, and offer him some wood to kindle a fire near his hammock. If 
he refuses the offer, it is a token that he will have nothing to say to the 
lass ; if he accepts it, the marriage is concluded, and the bride takes 
upon her to manage his household the next morning. 

They have one custom peculiar to themselves. When the wife 
lies-in for the first time, the husband is obliged to keep his hammock, 
which is drawn up to the ridge of the house, and he is suffered to 
have no nourishment but a little cassava-wheat and some water. 
When they let him down, they cut him in several parts of his body 
with some sharp instrument, made either of the fin of a fish or the 

The Ledrone Islands. 303 

tooth of some animal ; sometimes, also, they give him a sound whip- 
ping. Till this ceremony is performed upon the birth of the first 
child, the husband is the slave of his father-in-law ; and as soon as 
it is over, he is obliged to enter into the service of some old Indian, 
and quit his wife for some months. During this time, he is not 
allowed to eat venison, pork, nor game of any kind ; neither is he 
allowed to cleave wood, under a notion that it may hurt the infant. 
This servitude is terminated by a great festival, at which the husband 
is again put into possession of his liberty and his wife. 

The Ledrone Islands. 
[i769,//. 222, 223.] 

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, they acknowledged no deity, 
had no idea of any religion, and were without temples, altars, sacri- 
fices, worship, or priests. They had, indeed, some cunning men, 
called macanas, among them, who, pretending to the gift of prophecy, 
and to an intimate familiarity with the dead, assumed the power of 
controlling the living, giving health to the sick, procuring a plentiful 
harvest and a successful fishing. Under the influence of these delu- 
sions, they entertained some crude notions of the immortality of the 
soul ; for when anyone died, they put a basket over his head to re- 
ceive his spirit, entreating at the same time that as soon as it quitted 
the body it might repose itself in that basket. 

Indeed, the whole of their superstition turns upon the notions they 
entertain of the dead. They talk of a place replenished with deli- 
cacies, and abounding with groves of trees, fountains of water, and 
fruits of exquisite flavour, and of infernal regions where darkness 
evermore prevails. But neither virtue nor vice, according to them, 
has any share in conducting men to mansions of bliss or to those 
of misery ; the whole depends upon the manner of leaving the world. 
If one has the' misfortune to die a violent death, darkness is his por- 
tion ; but if he dies in the ordinary way, he has the pleasure of enjoy- 
ing all the delights which the happy regions can bestow. They are 
persuaded that the spirits of the dead appear to the living, and often 
complain of their being ill-used by spectres, by whom they are some- 
times terribly frighted. 

History of some Curious Customs used by the Natives 
of the Feejee Islands. By J. A. 

[1820, Part I.,pf. 212, 213.] 

The Feejee Islands are situated about 21 south latitude, and 174 
west longitude. They are very little known, and have received various 
names from different navigators. Tongataboo is the best known of 
this group, and there is an account of it in a work by the mis- 

304 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

sionaries who endeavoured to convert the inhabitants to our holy 

These islands have been but little frequented except by the mis- 
sionaries, some of whom were massacred in their devout attempts. 
They have, however, been sometimes visited by men who had a less 
holy intention ; viz., by persons in search of sandal-wood, which forms 
a valuable article of commerce in China, where it is said to be worth 
;8o a ton. 

In the pursuit of this article, many persons have had intercourse 
with the inhabitants, and have by no means left a favourable opinion 
of white men among them. One vessel particularly, after promising 
to assist them in their wars with the natives of a neighbouring island, 
for which piece of service their brig was to be laden with sandal- 
wood, received from them their cargo, and left them without any 
return. In consequence of some nefarious transactions of this sort, 
they have sometimes showed signs of hostility, and more than once 
innocent persons have suffered for the guilty. 

Having occasion to pass at no great distance from these islands 
in the year 1815, the master of a brig in company, whose name is 
Siddons, gave me the following account. Mr. Siddons had been 
several years living among them, had an estate there, and they even 
acknowledged him as a chief. 

As to the truth of his relation, I have no manner of doubt ; for 
although on hearing it some circumstances were enough to startle 
me, yet, having met with another man soon afterwards, who had been 
in the same trade, I took the opportunity to converse with him on 
the subject. He gave the same account, and without knowing that I 
had heard them before, related many circumstances that had happened 
to Siddons himself; for it appeared they had both been there at the 
same time. 

When a man dies (said Mr. Siddons), if he be a chief or man of 
importance, one or more of his wives are strangled at his funeral. 
Some have but one wife, but I have known several with five or six. 
I myself was present at one of these ceremonies. The defunct was 
an old chief who had died of some lingering disease, and his body 
was wasted to skin and bone. A native friend, who was a chief, 
came on board my brig, and invited me on shore to see the ceremony, 
as I had formerly expressed a wish to that effect. The corpse was 
rolled up in large folds of a kind of cloth that is made in these 
islands, similar to, but coarser than that which is made at Taheite. 
They conveyed the body to the door of the house of the coloo or 
priest, who are men having great influence in the country, and who 
are supposed to foretell future events. The corpse was placed on the 
ground, with the feet towards the door of the priest's house, and many 
hundreds of the natives were surrounding it. A woman was sitting 
at the head, which was uncovered, for the cloth was principally rolled 

Customs used by the Natives of the Feejee Islands. 305 

across the belly. She had in her hand something like a powder-puff, 
and she continually puffed the face of the corpse with a black powder. 
I was anxious to get near the body, but my friend continually exhorted 
me to keep at a distance. I nevertheless persisted, and advanced to 
within a few yards of it. The woman continued to sprinkle the face 
with the black powder; and when I had waited about an hour, a 
murmur among the multitude, and a sort of shout, attracted my 
attention. My native friend, who kept beside me, informed me that 
it was occasioned by the approach of the principal wife of the defunct 
chief, who lived some miles off, and who had just arrived in a canoe. 
In a few minutes she made her appearance, accompanied by her 
female friends. I did not observe any mark of extreme dejection 
about her, but she appeared serious and thoughtful. She advanced 
to the body, kissed it, and then retreated backwards about twenty 
steps, keeping her face towards it A woman well known to me was 
sitting there, and the widow placed herself upon her lap, when the 
females who had accompanied her to the place approached her and 
attempted to kiss her, but she repelled them scornfully with her arms. 
The woman upon whose lap she sat then put one of her hands at the 
back part of the head of the widow, and the other on her mouth. 
A man suddenly placed a cord round her neck ; six men who were 
ready took hold of it, three at each end, and pulled with all their 
force. I did not observe that the widow made the least struggle, 
although, after the manner of the country, she was only covered 
about the middle ; not even her legs moved. I was anxious to know 
what would be done with the bodies, and had recourse to my friend 
for that purpose. He told me, however, that that was not permitted 
to be known, but I might see all that they themselves knew, the final 
part of the ceremony being known only to the caloo. I accordingly 
went to the priest's house in the evening. The dead chief and his 
strangled widow were placed near the door. I had brought one of 
my boat's crew with me, and as the few natives that were present had 
some difficulty in forcing the chiefs body through the doorway, in 
consequence of the many folds of cloth that were about it, this man 
assisted them in this part of the rite ; and while this was doing, I 
went into the apartment, anxious to discover whether there was any 
grave dug. It was dark, and I felt about the house cautiously with 
my feet, lest there should be a cavern beneath it, but I found none ; 
and as they had then placed the two bodies beside each other in the 
house, my friend told me that I could not be permitted to see more, 
and we retired.* 

Another instance of the same ceremony I was more intimately 
acquainted with, and, indeed, was in some measure a party con- 
cerned. I had been on a cruise, and at my return I found my friend 

* A description of the ceremony may be found in the voyage of a Missionary, 
printed in Mr. Dalrymple's Collection. 

VOL. IV. 20 

306 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

Riccammong dead. He was a fine young man, and a chief. I had 
formerly entered into an agreement with him for a cargo of sandel- 
wood, which was not yet fulfilled. I greatly regretted the death of 
this man, not only because I had a friendship for him, but because I 
feared it would be a means of my losing my cargo of sandel-wood. 
I called immediately upon his mother, who had also been a great 
friend to me. As soon as she saw me, she embraced me ; and not 
knowing I had been informed of her loss, with tears told me that 
Riccammong was dead. "And what can I do?" said she. "How 
shall I be able to procure you the sandel-wood ?" I told her I was 
much grieved at the loss of her son, and requested to pay my respect 
to the body. I knew very well before that it was customary to visit 
and speak to the dead as if they were living, and that there was 
always some person present to give answers for them. I therefore 
went with the mother to the apartment where the body was laid, 
and taking hold of the dead chiefs hand, I said to him, " I see, 
Riccammong, what has happened to you : you are dead, and have 
left us. You know, Riccammong, the agreement that existed between 
us, that you were to procure me a freight of sandel-wood, which I 
have already paid you for, and which I have not received. What is 
to be done in the business, Riccammong ?" The mother, who stood 
by, answered, " Yes ; I recollect the agreement, and I will take care 
that it shall be fulfilled." Much more conversation passed between 
us, which it is needless to repeat, when we retired from the body. 
I was by this time intimate with many of the natives. I had a house 
and farm, and most of my property was rendered sacred or, as it is 
called in the country, tabooed so that any person injuring it might 
be destroyed. 

The old mother took me to her hou?e, and we had much conversa- 
tion respecting the sandel-wood that I had agreed with her son for. 
She wept much during our conversation, and anxiously spoke of 
Riccammong's principal wife. " You know," said she, " that she 
paid great attention to the white people that she fed them, and 
cloathed them. Alas ! unless some of her friends rescue her, she 
must follow my son to the grave. I know of no friend she has in 
the world," added she, embracing me, "but yourself. Are you will- 
ing to save her?" "I would do my utmost to save her. "Run, 
then," said she hastily ; " wait not a moment ; there is still a chance 
of her life being preserved." I was ignorant what it was necessary 
for me to do to effect the purpose, and inquired of the mother. She 
added quickly, " You know that you have the authority of a chief. 
Bring to the place of funeral a valuable present, hold it up in your 
hands, on your knees repeat the words : / beg the life of this woman ; 
and her life may be spared. But," continued the old woman quickly, 
" if you save her, you will have a right to her. I do not wish any 
person to possess the widow of my son.'' I told her I only wished 

Customs used by the Natives of thi Fcejee Islands. 307 

to save her life ; when she embraced me weeping, and I went away. 
I had unfortunately nothing on shore with me sufficiently valuable 
for the purpose ; I therefore ran down to the boat to go off to the 
brig, which was thirty miles distant. We pulled on board as fast as 
possible, and I took one of the largest whale's teeth, which I knew 
to be more valued there than gold. With a fresh boat's crew we 
pulled back again. I was certain there was not a moment to spare. 
On my reaching the shore, I leaped out of the boat, and ran to the 
spot where the ceremony would take place. The caloo, however, 
was my enemy indeed, he was the enemy of all the white people ; 
he had even predicted that the increased intercourse with the whites 
would endanger the nation. Hearing what I had intended to do, he 
had hastened the ceremony. He was a man apparently above the 
ordinary occurrences of life ; whether through hypocrisy or a real 
hardness of heart, he seemed to be bereft of the ordinary affections 
of men, and, I am inclined to think, much instigated by hatred towards 
the white people. He had, under the cloak of religion, already bereft 
the widow of Riccammong of life. The mother had endeavoured with all 
her power to prolong the time ; the widow also, equally anxious to escape, 
had used her utmost efforts to avoid the fatal cord, but all was in vain. 
The priest, with a look of sanctity, explained to the people that it was 
necessary; that men only had a right to interfere in these concerns; 
that it was the law, and that he was determined, for reasons known 
only to himself, that the usual sacrifice should take place immediately. 
It was therefore done as he had commanded, and the widow of Ric- 
cammong was strangled about a quarter of an hour before I arrived 
with the whale's tooth. My departed friend had three wives, two of 
whom were strangled ; the third was saved by the influence of her 
relations, who were persons of great influence. 

When I saw the bodies together, and that I had endeavoured in 
vain to save the widow, I was excessively agitated, and, in the first 
impulse of my disappointment, went to the corpse of the widow and 
kissed it. The caloo was standing near it ; he was a man that could 
contain his passions. I knew of his hostility towards me ; I up- 
braided him with the strongest expressions I could think of; but, 
smothering every mark of passion, he merely answered coolly, " It is 
the law." 

Since that time I have been present at several ceremonies of the 
same kind, but all of them are nearly the same in their perform- 
ance ; it would not be worth while therefore to speak more on the 

The people of these islands are cannibals. They inhabit a great 
many islands which have no appropriate names on the charts, but all 
of them have their peculiar native designations. The largest of these 
islands are divided into several districts, and there is often war among 
people of the neighbouring places. 

308 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

I had bought a bolt of canvass of the master of a vessel that was 
there, and he demanded a very large piece of sandel-wood for it, ten 
times as much as it was worth. I was, however, obliged to consent, 
and took him on shore to a place where I knew a piece large enough 
was lying ; for I was well known on the island, and had some 
authority : but he was a stranger ; and it was very dangerous for 
perfect strangers, ignorant of their language and customs, to trust 
themselves far from the shore. We had arrived at the log, and, 
having measured it, and found it not quite so large as was agreed 
upon, were talking about our bargain, when an old woman, well 
known to me, appeared with a large basket upon her shoulders. She 
came up to us, and, without addressing me as was usual, exclaimed 
in a dismal tone, " War, war, war." I immediately knew that some- 
thing was wrong, and that all was not safe.- The man that was with 
me would have fled to the boat ; but I advised him to stay by me, 
who was known, and could speak the language ; whereas, if he were 
seen by himself running to his boat, there was a probability of his 
being killed. He remained, therefore, with me, and, when we had 
waited some time, a native acquaintance came up. I inquired of 
him the meaning of the old woman's expression, when he informed 
me that they had been at war ; that they had killed the Chief of 
Hyparcar ; that they had had the good fortune to seize upon his 
body ; and that they would feast upon it to-morrow, inviting me to 
be of the party. 

To enable me to have so intimate an intercourse with these people, 
I had to encounter many dangers and to conform to many of their 
disgusting customs. This horrible custom, however, of eating human 
flesh, I had hitherto been able to avoid ; but it was necessary that I 
should seem to acquiesce even in this, and, as the natives did, take a 
delight in it. To the native's invitation, therefore, I gave a ready 
assent, seemed to rejoice at the circumstance, and explained to him 
that, as I had just arrived from a cruise, and had not tasted of fresh 
food for some time, it would be particularly welcome to me. I then 
went about my other concerns ; and in an hour or two the native that 
had accosted me in the morning came up to me, and, as if by acci- 
dent, led me to the log of sandel-wood we had been bargaining for. 
The body of the captive had been laid beside it. It was that of a 
man above six feet high ; there was a large wound across the forehead, 
and another at the top of the head, as if from the blows of a club. 
I started back at the sight, and the native exclaimed with emphasis, 
" Are you afraid ?" " Sanga, sanga," said I (" No, no ") ; " I hope to 
feast on him to morrow." 

The people of these islands always eat human flesh cold ; they 
roast it one day, and eat it the next ; and before the body is cut to 
pieces the caloo performs a long ceremony. I went with my native 
friend to the priest's house ; he was then about to perform the usual 

Customs used by the Natives of the Feejee Islands. 309 

incantation. He had a long staff in his hinds ; and having placed 
one end of it on the ground, he exercised himself violently in reeling 
to and fro with it, till, overcome with the exercise, he fell down, and 
the attendants carried him into his house. He then said something 
in the manner of an oracle, which, as it was explained to me, meant 
that they would succeed in what they were about to undertake, refer- 
ring to a battle that was intended. 

The multitude then went down to their dead enemy, and with 
pieces of wood or bambo, made very sharp, cut off his hands at the 
wrists, his feet at the ankles, his legs at the knees, and his thighs near 
the middle, dividing the bone with an axe, which they had purchased 
from one of the vessels that had been at the island. The head was 
cut off very low toward the breast, and they placed it on some hot 
ashes that had previously been prepared in a hole dug for the pur- 
pose ; and when it had remained there a sufficient time they rubbed 
off the hair with shells, and replaced it with the other parts of the 
body in the hole, surrounding it on all sides with stones that had 
been made very hot. They then covered it up till it was completely 
roasted. I told the natives that I expected they would allow me my 
share of it ; that I was then going on board, but that I should not 
fail to come on shore on the morrow ; but that, if I should be pre- 
vented, I desired they would send my share on board the brig. The 
men of Hylai (for that was the name of the place) promised that I 
.should not be disappointed, and I then left them. 

On my going on board, I told my mate what was going forward, and 
desired that, when the human flesh should be brought on board for 
me, he should say I was gone on shore ; and that when they should 
tell him what they had brought he should seem disgusted, and refuse 
to receive it on board ; that he should say that, although the Captain 
was fond of it, yet that he hated it, and that they might carry it on 
shore again, for he would not receive it. On the following day it was 
done as I desired ; they brought the roasted human flesh alongside, 
and the mate refused to admit it on board, at the same time ex- 
claiming violently against the custom. They at length went on shore 
with it, very much disappointed, and threatening that, if they met 
with him, they would kill him. 

Two days after this I went among them again. I thought I might 
turn the circumstance of the human flesh to my advantage. I pre- 
tended to be very angry with them, said that they had deceived me ; 
that they had not sent me my share of the human flesh. They per- 
sisted in affirming that they had sent it alongside, and that the mate 
would not receive it. I inquired, I told them, when I went on 
board, and that no one had seen or heard of it, and, added I, I 
have been greatly disappointed. Finding it therefore in vain to per- 
suade me that they had sent it to me, they railed against the 
and repeated that if they met him on shore they would kill him. 

310 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

Carrying on the deception, I immediately went to the mother of 
Riccammong. I told her that I was very angry that I had been dis- 
appointed and deceived. She spoke respectfully to me, as chiefs 
generally do when they address each other. In a very low submis- 
sive voice, she said (for even here there is prevalent a great portion 
of Eastern bombast), " If you are angry, me shall die." She then 
demanded what could be done to pacily me. I told her I must have 
a certain quantity of sandel-wood. She therefore immediately sent 
some of her servants to collect it for me ; which appeased me, and 
I returned on board. 

Soon after this, having collected my cargo, I left the place, and 
have heard no more of these people. They are a dangerous race to 
go among; and I was the only person of five vessels who had any 
authority among them, and was permitted to live on shore. 

One of the most extraordinary circumstances among them is, the 
excessive value they set upon large teeth, such as those of the whale 
or sea elephant. So that persons going to procure sandel-wood 
from them generally take with them as many of these teeth as they 
can procure. 

The principal things they barter for are axes, knives, or razors ; 
but they will give as much wood for one large tooth as for five or six 
axes. This regard they put upon large teeth is the more extra- 
ordinary, as they do not seem to make any use of them, except as 

When a native, by purchase or any other means, becomes pos- 
sessed of a large tooth, he hangs it up in his house, and for the first 
few days scarcely ceases looking upon it and admiring it. He 
frequently takes it down, and rubs it with a particular kind of leaf, 
and polishes it ; some of them almost for a month continue to labour 
upon it. 

The vessels from Port Jackson usually carried the teeth of the 
whale or sea elephant ; but some vessels from India carried elephants' 
teeth, which they cut into pieces, and made in the shape of other 
teeth. These, being very large, were considered of the greatest value, 
and procured vast quantities of sandel-wood. So great an account 
was set upon them, that some chiefs actually came from islands more 
than an hundred miles distant to see them. 

They set no value on money. A ship called thetiza, with several 
thousand dollars on board, was wrecked on a reef near one of these 
islands. The master of her put about four thousand of them in 
the jolly-boat, and made for the island that was most frequented, 
where he found a vessel from Port Jackson and got on board of her. 
The jolly-boat was left towing astern, and some hours had passed 
before the master of the shipwrecked vessel mentioned the dollars 
being left in the boat. It happened that this was done in the presence 
of the mate, who reported it to one of the sailors, and they removed 

Customs used by the Natives of the Feejee Islands. 3 1 1 

them by stealth. Some of them they concealed in their cabins, and 
others the accomplice took on shore and buried. Some of the 
natives, however, saw him covering something up, and when he went 
away they dug up the dollars. On the following morning they were 
widely distributed among the natives, who parted with them for the 
merest trifles, such as nails, pins, or small pieces of iron. 

A man called Savage, who had been some time among the natives 
at Tongataboo, about this time came to the island, and hearing 
where the wreck was, went to the place, and found the dollars lying 
in heaps upon the beach. 

Such is the account given me by Mr. Siddons ; I cannot vouch for 
the truth of it, but am inclined to believe that it is mostly true. To 
many it may appear to be too much allied to the voyages of Sinbad 
the Sailor, but I would not disbelieve it on that account. From 
many persons I have heard similar accounts, but very few have had 
the opportunity of seeing so much of these people as Siddons. 
There is a possibility also of some of the circumstances that I have 
mentioned in this account having been published before, especially 
in "The Missionary Voyage ;" which being the case, one account 
may be set against the other, and may either confirm the truth of 
it, or render it doubtful. Siddons lived on the Island, I believe, 
several years, and had house and lands ; perhaps wives. If he be 
not the Missionary himself mentioned in Pinkerton's " Geography " 
as having forsaken the original purpose of his visiting the Islands, 
namely, that of propagating the Gospel, for the more sensual grati- 
fications of life ; at least it is probable that the one may have been 
known by the other, and may be mentioned accordingly. This 
account I heard from Siddons himself, and I thought it worth while 
to commit it to paper. 

Torre's Straits, Aug. $th, 1815. 

Strange Opinions of some Indians concerning the 
Supreme Being. 

[1771, /. 400.] 


The Indian Gentiles feign that a certain immense spider was the 
first cause of all things ; which, drawing the matter from its own 
bowels, wove the web of this universe, and disposed it with won- 
derful art : she in the meantime, sitting in the centre of her work, 
feels and directs the motion of every part, till at length, when 
she has pleased herself sufficiently, in ordering and contemplating 
this web, she draws all the threads she had spun out again into her- 
self, and, having absorbed them, the universal nature of all creatures 
vanishes into nothing. 

312 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

Some Account of the Natives of Louisiana. 

[1753. p- 325-] 

When the French entered this fine country, they found it inhabited 
by a great number of different nations. I will only mention the most 
considerable, which are, the Pascagoulas, the Oumas, the Tonicas, 
the Natchez, the Tchatcas, the Chicachas, the Tinsas, the Natsitoches, 
the Adiais, the Assinais, the Alkanas, the Cadodaquious, the Yazous, 
and the Tchetimactchas. The Oumas and Tonicas, being in the 
neighbourhood of New Orleans, are reduced to a very few families 
by the immoderate use of brandy, which they found means to pro- 
cure in spite of all the precautions the governor could take. The 
Tonicas have always been so attached to the French, that the 
king hath decorated their chief with a blue wreath, with a medal pen- 
dent from it, presented him with a gold-headed cane, and made him 
brigadier of the Red Armies, i.e., the auxiliary troops of the natives. 
The Natsitoches are seated upon the Red River ; the Adiais to the 
west of them, and the Assinais further west ; and to the north of 
them lie the Cadodaquious. The Alkanzas and Yazous are seated 
upon the rivers of those names. The Chicachas, our declared ene- 
mies, are retired into the country to the east of the river of St. Louis, 
thither the Natchez too retired in the last war we had with them. 
The Tinsas, Tchatcas, and Tchetimactchas are branches of the 

These various nations, besides the language peculiar to each, have 
one common language, by means whereof they can converse together, 
and is of the same utility as the Lingua Franca of the Levant. Their 
manners and customs are pretty much the same. The character, 
therefore, of the Natchez, who are a great people, with whom I lived 
seven years and am best acquainted, may serve for that of all the 

The Natchez, as well as all the other natives of Louisiana, have 
very regular features, and are strong and well made, and in general 
tall. They live to a very advanced age, and in their old age are 
not very infirm. To this the plainness of their diet, their sobriety, 
their exercise, the salubrity of the air, and the wisdom of their physi- 
cians, who content themselves with purging the sick, and never 
bleed, do not a little contribute. Their women differ in this from 
the Europeans, that they have double breasts, i.e., in the midst of 
each breast there rises another small one, about four inches broad, 
with a very long nipple. 

The Natchez are of a very mild and humane disposition, when one 
gives them no cause of distrust or discontent. They love instruction, 
and it is more the fault of the Europeans than theirs that they are 

Account of the Louisianians. 3 1 3 

not better civilized. They are grave and prudent, enemies to lying, 
faithful in their promises, of few words, never the first to do injuries 
to others, and never forgetting the injuries done to them. Their 
language is not copious, their style, or manner of expressing them- 
selves, is very figurative, and like that of the Orientals. 

The men build the cottages, hunt, go to war, make their bows and 
arrows, and prepare the ground for the seed ; all other work and 
business whatever falls to the lot cf the women. The women sow 
the seed and get in the harvest ; they make baskets, mats, and all 
other household furniture ; they prepare food for the family ; they 
make all pieces of stuffs and ornaments used by way of apparel. 
When the men fell trees, they leave them, and send the women to 
fetch them home ; nay, they will not so much as bring home the 
beasts they kill in hunting ; they only cut out the tongue and flea off 
the skin, and send the women for the carcase. 

The pre eminence and superiority of the male to the female sex, 
and the paternal authority, are looked upon amongst them as the 
most inviolable laws of nature, and are strictly observed and rigidly 
maintained. The youngest boys take place of, and are preferred on 
all occasions to, the oldest women ; and in their entertainments and 
ordinary repasts, are served before them. And let the descendants 
of an old man be ever so numerous, they all live together and are 
subject to him ; his power over them is absolute, and all his commands 
reverenced and punctually obey'd. 

The men seldom marry till they have attained the age of twenty- 
five ; nor are any marriages celebrated without the consent and con- 
currence of the old men, who are the heads of the respective families; 
the bridegroom, instead of receiving a portion with the bride, always 
makes a present to her father. 

As soon as a child is born, both the mother and child are washed in 
river or spring water; a few days after, the child is rubbed with bear's 
oil : this unction, together with their continual exposure to the heat 
of the sun (for both sexes go quite naked till they are twelve years old) 
gives a red colour to their skin, which is as white as ours when they 
are born, that no time can efface. Their cradles are very light, and 
made of reeds, and, instead of rocking them as we do, they slide 
them backwards and forwards upon two large canes, whereon they 
are placed. 

The nation of the Natchez consists of nobles and common people. 
The highest rank of the nobles are called "Suns;" they are a different 
race, and do not mix with the rest of the people. When one of 
these Suns dies, not only his wives, but also a considerable number 
of the common people are strangled and buried along with him. 

They have a temple wherein is kept what they call " The sacred and 
eternal Fire." This fire was originally kindled by the rays of the sun, 
and is fed with wood stripped of the bark. The Suns alone are 

314 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

permitted to enter this temple. All their religious worship seems to 
consist in preserving and keeping up this fire, and nine officers are 
appointed for that purpose. If by neglect or any accident this fire is 
extinguished, it is looked upon as a sign of some great impending 
calamity, nor can they rekindle it till after a long time and with much 
difficulty. I ingratiated myself greatly with the chiefs of the nation, 
and received considerable presents from them, for giving them and 
showing them the use of a convex lens, by means whereof they would 
always have it in their power, immediately and easily, to renew the 
sacred fire. Nothing could equal their joy and surprise upon seeing 
the effect of the glass. 

The men do not all go to war. The warriors are a particular class, 
properly educated. They are not brave, but act against their ene- 
mies chiefly by stratagem and surprise, and seldom engage fairly. 
The principal warriors and women of distinction mark their skins 
with the figures of animals. This they do by pricking out the 
designed figure upon their skins, with a sharp-pointed instrument, 
and then rubbing coal-dust into the punctures ; by this means the 
fine coal-dust enters the skin, and the figure can never be effaced. 

Nottoway Indians. 

[1821, Part I., pp. 505, 506.] 

In our last number we gave a short account of the Padouca Indians 
[see Note 46]. We shall now introduce a few particulars of the Not- 
toway Indians, in the state of Virginia, obtained through the medium 
of a person who lately visited their settlement 

The Nottoway Indians, in number about twenty-seven, including 
men, women, and children, occupy a track of seven thousand acres 
of excellent land upon the west side of Nottoway river, two miles 
from Jerusalem in the county of Southampton. The principal cha- 
racter among them is a woman who is styled their queen. Her name 
is Edie Turner ; she is nearly sixty years of age, and extremely in- 
telligent ; for, although illiterate, she converses and communicates 
her ideas with greater facility and perspicuity than women among 
the lower orders in society. She has a comfortable cottage, well fur- 
nished, several horses and cows, and keeps her portion of the settle- 
ment in a good state of cultivation. 

The ancient Nottoway or Powhattan language is only known to 
the queen and two other old Indians. This language is evidently of 
Celtic origin (sic), and appears equally harmonious and expressive as 
either the Erse, Irish, or Welsh. It has two genders, masculine and 
feminine, three degrees of comparison, and two articles, but the verbs 
are extremely irregular. 

The old woman gave an account of the antient superstition or 

Nottoway Indians. 315 

religion of the Nottoways ; from which one might suppose that John 
Bunyan had copied his " Pilgrim's Progress " : 

"The Nottoways believed that the soul, after separation from the 
body, was conducted by a Genius to the bank of a large, dark, and 
gloomy river, the allotted residence of the wicked. Across this river 
lay a long pole, roundish, and of polish smooth as glass. The spirit 
was conducted by his Genius along this pole, having the same advice 
given which Lot's wife had, ' Never to look behind.' The conse- 
quence of disobedience to this order immediately proved fatal ; for 
the unhappy spirit slipped his foot, and was instantly precipitated 
into the river of eternal punishment. But if he reached the oppo- 
site bank in safety, a new trial was presented to him. He had to 
pass, conducted by the Genius, through an extensive orchard, where 
trees of every description presented to the sight the most delicious 
fruits but to the sight only ; for if the spirit, neglecting the advice 
of the guide, was induced to touch any of the tempting clusters, he 
was immediately transformed into a bear or wolf, or some brute 
animal. If the spirit was fortunate enough to escape from this orchard 
of temptations, he entered a spacious forest abounding with game of 
all kinds ; but if he did not in this instance also follow closely his 
guide, he was doomed here to remain and spend his eternity in the 
chase of animals. Passing from this forest, he next entered an ex- 
tensive plain, where groups of men and women were indulging in 
every species of pleasure. This was the region next to eternal bliss, 
and those were esteemed fortunate who even reached this elysium. 
But the few who still had fortitude to resist all the joys which here 
presented themselves were admitted to the presence of the great 
spirit, with him to dwell in everlasting happiness." 

In the Nottoway river, adjoining the Indian land, about five miles 
from Jerusalem, an ore has been found supposed by some to contain 
silver ; but the more probable opinion is, that the specimens dis- 
covered are only sulphur, mixed with the baser metals. 

Four lots of the poorer part of the Indian settlement, each lot 
containing 280 acres, were some time since exposed to sale, by an 
act of the legislature, for the purpose of paying the debts of the 
Nottoway Indians. The first two lots brought four dollars per acre ; 
the third, five dollars ninety-four cents ; and the fourth, five dollars 
one cent The terms of the sale were one-fourth cash, and three- 
fourths in one, two, and three years, secured by a deed of trust given 
by the purchaser upon the property. 

The Nottoway tribe, if we may judge from the looks of the few 
now remaining, were originally men of good appearance and stature, 
not darker than a bright mulatto complexion. 

316 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

The Character, Manners, and Customs of the Indians 

of Quito.* 

[1752, //. 447-4S -] 

These Indians have such a coolness and insensibility of temper, such 
a composure or tranquillity of mind, as neither calamities can ruffle, 
nor prosperous and fortunate events alter or affect. Those things 
which the rest of mankind so earnestly covet and desire are by them 
regarded with the most perfect apathy and indifference. When by 
chance they see any person of distinction splendidly dress'd, they 
neither repine at the meanness and insufficiency of their own habit, 
nor show the least inclination or desire to be more richly or better 
cloathed. Riches they esteem not ; of power, honours, and dignity 
they are not ambitious. The office of an hangman, or executioner, 
and that of alcade, or chief magistrate of a village (which is some- 
times conferr'd upon them), are equally acceptable to an Indian ; 
he enters upon these offices with the same indifference and equal 
insensibility. Their own coarse fare is as agreeable as the most deli- 
cate viands ; and were both set before them, they would probably pre- 
fer the former. So agreeable to them is a state of ease and indolence, 
that rewards will scarcely tempt, fear hardly move, punishment scarcely 
compel them to quit it. One would take them to be a people with- 
out passions and without desire. 

This slow, phlegmatic temper renders them very proper for works 
which require little labour, but great patience and application, inso- 
much that it is common for the Spaniards, when they are talking of 
any tedious work, to say it would weary the patience of an Indian. 
In weaving carpets, quilts, and such-like, the Indians take up the 
threads of the warp one by one, and pass the woof underneath ; and 
proceeding in this irksome tedious manner, they sometimes spend a 
year or two in finishing a single piece. 

Idleness and sloth are a natural consequence of such a sedate, 
indolent disposition. Neither their own interest and convenience, 
nor the obligations they are under to perform the tasks assign'd them 
by their masters, are sufficient to induce them to work. The care of 
providing food, raiment, and all other necessaries for the family falls 
entirely upon the Indian women. The women spin and make the 
short frocks or shirts, and trowzers or drawers, which are the whole 
clothing of their husbands. The women prepare the machca, which 

[* This account is taken from the Spanish an historical relation of a voyage to 
S. America, by Don Jorga Juan and Don Antonio Ulloa, published at Madrid in 
1748 ; 4 vols., 4to. A review of this work appeared in vol. xix., 1750, pp. 243- 
245, and extracts are piven in the same volume, pp. 304-306.] 

Manners and Customs of the Indians of Quito. 3 1 7 

is barley-flour, and the camcha, or toasted maiz, which are the 
common food of the Indians. They also make the chicha, which 
is an intoxicating liquor drawn from maiz, or Indian corn ; and whilst 
the wife is thus employ'd, the husband sits by the fire upon his hams 
(which is the favourite posture of all the Indians) looking at her, and 
never stirs but to eat, or till some of his acquaintance call upon him 
to go abroad. The only service the men do for the family is to plough 
a little spot of ground to grow such vegetables as they want ; but the 
planting, sowing, and all the rest of the culture is left entirely to the 
wife and children. When they are thus set at their ease in their 
cottages, there is no moving them. If by chance a traveller who has 
lost his way comes to any of their cots, as soon as they see him near 
the door they hide themselves, and order the women to deny them, 
to avoid going a quarter of a league or less to show the stranger the 
right road, altho' they might gain a ryal or a half (which is the least 
that can be offered them) in such a short time. If the traveller 
alights and goes into the cottage, it is no easy matter to find them ; 
for there is no light but what comes through the opening or hole that 
is made for the door ; and when they are found, all the offers and 
entreaties he can make will scarcely induce them to go along with 
him ; and so it is when you want to employ them in any other sort 
of business. 

They eat very little ; two or three spoonfuls of barley-flour and a 
drink of chicha or, if they have no chicha, a drink of water after 
it is their common meal. All the provision they make for a journey 
is a little scrip or bag, which they call gicri-ta, full of barley-flour, 
and a spoon. Furnish'd with these, they will travel 50 or 100 leagues. 
When they are hungry or weary, they endeavour to get to some cot- 
tage where they may have chicha ; but if there be no cottage near, 
they sit down by the side of any stream or rivulet, and after they 
have taken 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the flour, they drink a large quantity 
of chicha or water, and with this they are as well satisfied as if they 
had regaled in the most plentiful and elegant manner. 

Their huts, or cottages, are very mean and small ; the fire is always 
in the middle of the cottage. There is but one room, which serves 
them and all the animals they breed, for they all live together. Dogs 
they are very fond of they never want three or four cur-dogs. They 
also keep hogs, hens, and a sort of little animals like rabbits, which 
they call cuyes. The furniture of the cottage consists in a few 
earthen vessels, as pots, pitchers, and such-like, and their beds. 
These and all the cotton which the women spin are their whole estate 
and substance. Their beds are only two or three sheep-skins ; they 
sleep upon them in their ordinary posture, sitting upon their hams, 
and never undress. 

Altho' they keep hens and other animals, they never eat them. 
They are so fond of these domesticks, that they will neither kill nor 

3 1 8 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

sell them. If it happens that a traveller is obliged to pass the night 
in one of their cottages, and desires a hen or pullet for supper, they 
will not let him have one, tho' he offers to pay them ever so hand- 
somely for it ; and if he takes upon him to kill one himself, the Indian 
women make as great outcries and lamentations as if they had lost 
one of their children ; but when they see there is no remedy, they 
will take the price offer'd. 

Many of the Indians, when they go upon a journey, take their 
families along with them, the women carrying upon their backs the 
children that can't walk. They fasten the door of their cottage with 
a leathern thong, which they think a sufficient security for their house- 
hold furniture, and certainly there is no great temptation for thieves. 
If the journey be long, they send their tame animals to the cottage 
of some neighbouring Indian ; if short, they commit the cottage and 
animals to the care of their dogs, which are so faithful that they will 
suffer none to enter the cottage during their master's absence. It is 
remarkable, that the dogs bred by the Spaniards and Mestizos distin- 
guish the Indians afar off by their scent, and bark furiously at them 
and attack them ; and the dogs bred by the Indians treat the Spaniards 
and Mestizos in the same manner. 

The Indians work no longer than their masters stand over them. 
Diversions, dancing, and drinking are the only things they show any 
inclination to, and of these they are never weary. They are ex- 
tremely addicted to drunkenness ; at their feasts and merry-meetings 
they begin to drink in the morning, and never cease till they have 
utterly lost all sense and motion. It is common for the master of a 
feast to provide a vessel of chicha, which contains about thirty bottles 
or more, for each guest, After a slight repast upon boiled herbs and 
camcha, they begin to drink and dance ; the women sing, and serve 
their husbands with liquor in round calabashes ; at the same time 
some of the men beat drums, and play upon flageolets after their 
fashion. Their dancing is nothing but a skipping from one side to 
another, without any order or regularity. In this manner the drink- 
ing and diversion continue till all are sufficiently dosed, and then 
men and women, brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters, lie 
down together in the most promiscuous and disorderly manner 
imaginable. The next morning they begin to drink again, and never 
cease till they have drunk out all the stock of liquor of the master of 
the house. When that is done, every guest brings his own stock of 
chicha to be drunk ; then they all join to buy more ; and thus they 
continue drinking from day to day, till they have neither liquor, 
money, nor credit left. To put a stop to these disorders, the Spanish 
curates, who have the care of the Indians, are sometimes obliged to 
go and pour out the chicha upon the ground, and break up the com- 
pany. It is to be observed that the privilege of getting drunk is 
enjoyed only by the fathers of a family, as they have persons to take 

Manners and Customs of the Indians of Quito. 3 1 9 

care of them, and that the women and young men are never guilty 
of these excesses. 

Their funeral ceremonies are only a course of drinking. The 
mourners, and all that are invited, do nothing but drink chica in 
honour of the deceased ; and on these occasions they oblige all the 
Indians that pass by to drink, whether they be men or women, young 
or old, and these funeral drinking bouts sometimes continue four or 
five days. 

Virginity is in no manner of esteem amongst the Indians : contrary 
to the custom of most other nations, the woman who has been familiar 
with the greatest number of men (like a modern toast) is the most 
sought after, and, further, in the most likely way to get an husband.* 
When an Indian inclines to marry, he takes the woman he chooses 
with her father's consent, and they live together for three or four 
months, and sometimes a year. If the man likes his choice, he 
marries her at the end of that time, if not, he sends her back to her 
father ; and they often give this as a reason, that the father has 
endeavoured to cheat them by putting a virgin into their hands. It 
is no uncommon thing with them to exchange wives with one another, 
without any ceremony or contract ; and it frequently happens that, 
after some time, each party resumes his own wife. Incest is also 
common amongst them. 

They are very superstitious, and much given to divination and 
fortune-telling ; they will practise a thousand senseless superstitions, 
in order to obtain success in a design, or to know whether what they 
desire will come to pass. They give little or no heed or attention to 
what the Spanish curates say to them on the subject of religion. It 
is the fear of the whip only that brings them to mass on Sundays. 
Some of them, whilst they have been undergoing the lash for staying 
at home and drinking, instead of coming to mass, have with great 
simplicity and earnestness desired the curate to order as many more 
stripes to be given them as would serve for another fault ; for that 
they intended to absent themselves and drink the following Sunday 
too. The confessions which the curates oblige them to make are 
mere farces : they will never voluntarily acknowledge themselves to 
have been guilty of any fault at all, so that the curates inform them- 
selves of their transgressions, and make up confessions which they 
oblige them to repeat 

They meet death, whether natural or violent, with the greatest 
intrepidity and unconcern, and betray not the least sign of grief, un- 
easiness, or discomposure. Those who are condemn'd for any crime, 
walk to execution with as much calmness and insensibility as if they 

* See in Gen. Diet., Vol. VI., p. 422, a like custom among the Icelanders. 
Fathers present their daughters to strangers, and if they become pregnant it is a 
great honour, they being more esteemed and courted on that account. They are 
also like the Indians in drinking. See Vol. xvii., p. 173. 

320 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

were going to keep their cattle, or plough their farm. At the bull- 
feasts they will place themselves in the way of a bull in his full 
career, and suffer themselves to be thrown up into the air, purely for 
the satisfaction of having run at the bull, and they generally escape 
unhurt. When they form themselves into bodies to go to war, they 
will attack their enemies, let them be ever so superior in number, 
without fear, consideration, or regard to circumstances. An Indian 
on horseback will attack bears without any other arms than a long 
leathern thong with a loop or running knot at the end of it. As soon 
as he comes nigh the bear, he throws the loop at him with so much 
skill and dexterity that he never fails to catch him by the neck, and 
then he gallops away at full speed, which draws the knot tight, drags 
the bear along, and strangles him. 

The Indians are of a strong, robust constitution. The venereal 
disease is very common amongst them, but never arrives to any great 
degree of malignity ; this is attributed to the nature of their blood 
and juices and the qualities of the chica. The small-pox makes 
the greatest havock among them, for it is very fatal. Spotted fevers 
they are sometimes seized with, but these are generally soon cured. 
Those who escape the epidemical distempers are generally long- 
lived. There are many above one hundred years old, and some of 
them strong and healthy. 

The account we have given relates to those Indians who live 
together in villages near the Spanish towns and cities, without any 
Spaniards amongst them, but are visited by curates and are subject 
to the Spaniards, and employ'd by them to cultivate their farms 
or plantations, and in weaving and other works they are capable of 
performing. There are other Indians who are free, and wander 
about from place to place in the woods and uncultivated country ; 
their character and customs are not different, but their way of life 
obliges them to use more exercise, and makes them more brisk and 
active. The indolence of the village Indians, and their unwilling- 
ness to work, probably proceed in a great measure from sullenness 
and resentment of the usage they have met with from the Spaniards ; 
and many of their other ill qualities may be derived from their being 
greatly neglected and the want of proper instruction. There are 
some Indians who live in the Spanish towns and cities, who learn 
mechanick arts, follow trades, and, by conversing with the Spaniards, 
learn the Caslilian language, and are called Ladinos ; these forsake 
their ill customs, and are not inferior to the ordinary Spaniards in 
capacity, industry, or ingenuity. The Indian barbers are remarkably 
dextrous : letting blood is a branch of their business, and they do it 
as skilfully as the best European surgeons. These instances, together 
with the civilized state and condition of the Indians, whilst they were 
under the government of the Incas, and the improvements the 
Jesuits have made amongst the Indians of Paraguay, sufficiently show 

North American Indian Superstitions. 321 

that nothing but proper care, culture, and discipline are required to 
make all the modern Indians an industrious and ingenious people. 

North-American Indian Superstitions. 

[1777, pp. 37o,37i-] 

Being greatly pleased with the extract [on Harwood's edition of 
the Greek testament] from Mr. Granville Sharp's late " Tract on the 
Law of Nature, etc.," in pp. 215, 216 of your May magazine, I was 
induced to procure the book ; in consequence of which I must also 
beg a place in your next miscellany for the following passages copied 
from it, containing very curious and striking observations, which will 
be highly acceptable, unless I am strangely mistaken, to many of 
your numerous readers. You will at least oblige 

Your constant reader, 


I have been informed by an Englishman who lived many years 
amongst the Indians in the internal parts of North America, very far 
to the westward (and who is himself tattooed with all the marks of 
distinction common with the nations with whom he has had any con- 
nections), that he once saw a party of Indians, who had taken some 
prisoners in war, tattoo a couple of their unfortunate captives with 
the most curious marks they could devise, and afterwards hang them 
up upon a tree as a sacrifice to that infernal Being which they wor- 
shipped, saying at the same time in their language that they hoped 
these two fine men (viz., finely tattooed) whom they presented would 
be acceptable to him ; for though the Indians in general acknowledge 
that there is a God, whom they call the great and good Spirit, yet 
through the delusions of the Devil, they think it more profitable to 
worship evil spirits, by way of propitiation, lest they should hurt 

" Outre 1'idde du premier Estre qu'ont les sauvages " (says Father 
Lafitan, speaking of the American savages), " et qu'ils confondent 
avec le soleil, ils reconnoissent encore plusieurs Esprits ou Genies d'un 
Ordre inferieur, que les Iroquois nomment Hondatkon-sona, c'est-a- 
dire, Esprits de toutes sortes. Le nombre n'en est point determine ; 
leur imagination leur en fait voir dans toutes les choses naturelles, 
mais encore plus dans celles, dont les ressorts leur sont inconnus, 
qui sont extraordinaires, et qui ont quelque air de nouveautd Qoi- 
quils leur donnent en general le nom d'esprit, d'Okki, ou de Manitou, 
qui leur sont des noms communs avec le premier Estre, ils ne les 
confondent pourtant jamais avec cet Estre superieur, et ne leur 
donnent jamais certains noms particuliers, qui le designent lui seul, 
tel que sont les noms cAemun, areskoui. Ces Esprits sont tous des 
genies subalternes ; ils reconnoissent meme dans la plupart tin cha- 

VOL. IV. 21 

322 Customs of Foreign Countries. 

ractere mauvais plus forte & faire du mal que du Men; ils ne laissent 
pas d'en etre les esclaves, el de les honorer plus que le grand Esprit, 
qui de sa nature est bon ; mais ils les honorent par un effet de cette 
crainte servile, qui a le plus contribue' a maintenir la superstition et 
Pidolatrie, que 1'ecriture Sainte appelle pour cette raison une Servitude; 
ainsi ils sont veritablement idolatres." " Mceurs des Sauvages Ameri- 
quains," torn. L, pp. 145, 146. 

New-England Marriage Custom. 

[1747, /. 21 1.] 

It must be noted that it is the custom in this country for young 
persons between whom there is a courtship, or treaty of marriage, to 
lye together, the woman having her petticoats on, and the man his 
breeches ; and afterwards, if they do not fall out, they confess the 
covenant at church, in the midst of the congregation, and to the 
minister, who declares the marriage legal ; and if anything criminal 
has been acted, orders a punishment accordingly, sometimes of forty 
stripes save one. 

I am, sir, yours, etc., 


Singular Custom among the Americans. 

[1821, Part L, pp. 399-402.] 

My wish is occasionally to transmit you some account of the people 
of these new states ; but I am far from being qualified for the pur- 
pose, having as yet seen little more than the cities of New York and 
Philadelphia. I have discovered but few national singularities among 
them. Their customs and manners are nearly the same with those 
of England, which they have long been used to copy. For, previous 
to the Revolution, the Americans were from their infancy taught to 
look up to the English as patterns of perfection in all things. I have 
observed, however, one custom, which, for aught I know, is peculiar 
to this country. An account of it may afford considerable amuse- 
ment to the numerous readers of your respectable miscellany. 

When a young couple are about to enter into the matrimonial 
slate, a never-failing article in the marriage-treaty is, that the lady 
shall have and enjoy the free and unmolested exercise of the right of 
white-washing, with all its ceremonials, privileges, and appurtenances. 
A young woman would forego the most advantageous connexion, and 
even disappoint the warmest wish of her heart, rather than resign the 
invaluable right. You would wonder what this privilege of white- 
washing is. I will endeavour to give you some idea of the ceremony 
as I have seen it performed. 

There is no season of the year in which the lady may not claim 

Singular Custom among the Americans. 323 

her privilege, if she pleases ; but the latter end of May is most gene- 
rally fixed upon for the purpose. [A humorous description then 
follows of spring cleaning.] 

There is also another custom peculiar to the city of Philadelphia, 
and nearly allied to the former. I mean, that of washing the pavement 
before the doors every Saturday evening. I at first took this to be a 
regulation of the police ; but, on a further inquiry, I find it is a 
religious rite, preparatory to the Sabbath, and is, I believe, the only 
religious rite in which the numerous sectaries of this city perfectly 
agree. The ceremony begins about sunset, and continues till about 
ten or eleven at night. It is very difficult for a stranger to walk the 
streets on those evenings ; he runs a continual risk of having a bucket 
of dirty water thrown against his legs : but a Philadelphian born is so 
much accustomed to the danger, that he avoids it with surprising 
dexterity. It is from this circumstance that a Philadelphian may be 
known anywhere by his gait. The streets of New York are paved 
with rough stones ; these indeed are not washed, but the dirt' is so 
thoroughly swept from before the doors, that the stones stand up 
sharp and prominent, to the great inconvenience of those who are not 
accustomed to so rough a path. But habit reconciles everything. It 
is diverting enough to see a Philadelphian at New York ; he walks 
the streets with as much painful caution, as if his toes were covered 
with corns, or his feet lamed by the gout ; while a New Yorker, as 
little approving the masonry of Philadelphia, shuffles along the pave- 
ment like a parrot on a mahogany table. 

It must be acknowledged that the ablutions I have mentioned are 
attended with no small inconvenience ; but the women would not be 
induced, from any consideration, to resign their privilege. Not- 
withstanding this, I can give you the strongest assurances that the 
women of America make the most faithful wives, and the most 
attentive mothers in the world ; and I am sure you will join with me 
in opinion, that if a married man is made miserable only one week 
the whole year, he will have no great cause to complain of the 
matrimonial bond. Yours, etc. ** 


NO T E S. 

1 (page 26). The Brehon Laws are included among the valuable publications of 
the Master of the Rolls, Ancient Laws of Ireland (Dublin, 1865-73). They should 
be studied in connection with Professor Eugene O'Curry's Lectures on the Manu- 
script Materials of Ancient Irish History, Dublin, 1 86 1, and Sir Henry Maine's 
work on the Early History of Institutions, London, 1875. 

2 (page 36). I have examined the treatise of Michael Psellus which bears upon 
the subject of " daemones," and cannot find the passage referred to in the text. 
The following (translated), however, is to the same purpose: "There were six 
orders of daemons : first, a name which means Igneous, this order haunts the air 
above us ; the second order haunts the air contiguous, and is called Aerial ; the 
third is earthly ; the fourth aqueous and marine ; the fifth subterranean ; and the 
sixth the Lucifugus." The following passage (translated) from the same book is 
worth quoting : " No one has heard of such impiety being practised by the Celts, 
nor by any other nations near Britain, though they do not possess laws and are 
in a savage state." Psellus lived in the eleventh century, and filled the office of 
tutor to Prince Michael, son of Constantine. 

3 (page 49). This poem is of course imaginative, and addressed to a supposed 
mistress of the author, but it contains a true enough picture of fairy belief to make 
it worth a place in this volume. 

4 (page 50). This Song of the Fairies, by Lord Thurlow, is included in his 
collected works, published in 1813. It is called there "A second song of Sea 

5 (page 51). This book was published under the following title: Chronicles 
of the Kings of Norway, translated from the Icelandic, by S. Laing, London, 
1844. 3 vols., 8vo. 

6 (page 55). See Henderson's Folklore of the Northern Counties (Folklore 
Society), 1879, pp. 129-131. 

7 (page 56). " Nugen " has m meaning in German now ; but unless it be a 
misprint for " nagen " the writer means the old preterite of that latter verb, which 
was formerly irregular, whilst it now belongs to the regular verbs, not undergoing 
any change of vowels. The meaning of "nagen" is "to gnaw." Our river 
"Neckar" is in all probability, or next to a certainty, the same as "Nickes," 
" Nicken," " Nikur," etc., the name of a sea or water deity. Whether all these 
names are to be derived from " nugen " or "nagen" is uncertain, although very 
likely. The water or its spirits wash away the land, or " gnaw at it ;" or, better, 
"to gnaw " must be taken in a more general sense : "to do harm," or even to kill 
(necare). " Nagen " and " necare " most likely belong to the same Indo-German 
root ; the Romans, in any case, did not give our river Neckar its name, but heard 
from the Germans what sounded to them " Nicer." 


8 (page 60). The subject of fairy, rings has engaged the attention of a modern 
inquirer at a meeting of the Caradoc Field Club, reported in the Antiquary (1884), 
vol. x., p. 223 : 

" Mr. T. P. Blunt read a paper on ' Fairy Rings.' On some high, sloping field, 
where the pasture is poor and pale in colour, irregular rings of a much darker 
green and more luxuriant growth are observed. If these are watched from time 
to time it will be seen that they increase in size, the dark green band of rich grass 
appearing to march outwards, so to speak, from the centre, radially, so that while 
the actual green belt is not much, if any, broader, the diameter of the entire ring 
is much enlarged. A closer inspection of the dark green band will disclose here 
and there, in greater or smaller numbers, fungi belonging to the order Agaricus, 
and generally of one species, the Champignon Marasmius, Oreades. The name 
is very significant. The Oreads were mountain nymphs, or elves, just as the 
Dryads were oak or tree elves, and it is suggested, not without plausibility, that 
the name 'fairy ring' is due to the appearance of these fungi, which, under a 
glancing moon, and with the aid of an excited imagination, might easily be taken 
for fairies lightly pirouetting on one foot as they trip round in the mystic circle 
which, from immemorial ages, has been connected with the rites of religion or 
of superstition." 

9 (page 68). St. George was one of the chief characters of the medieval 
mumming plays. Sir John Paston writes to his brother in 1473 about Platting, a 
servant of his, that " I have kept him this three years to play Saint George, Robin 
Hood, and the Sheriff of Nottingham." fusion Letters, Fenn, ii. 131 ; Ramsay, 
ii. 79- There are many chap versions of his legend. 

10 (page 70). See Gentleman's Magazine Library, "Popular Superstitions," 
]>. 63, and the notes thereon, p. 313. 

11 (page 72). The Folklore Journal, vol. ii., pp. 149, 150, in an article on 
"The Folklore of Drayton," thus usefully sums up this tradition : 

" In this chapter of vegetable virtues it is right to mention the folklore of S. 
Winifred's Well, because the moss growing thereby was, as Drayton relates, ac- 
counted of value against infectious damps.* It was worn as pomander, that is, in 

a scented ball, compounded of various ingredients apples frequently being one 

which it was formerly the fashion to carry about on the person. The poet gives 
the legend of chaste Winifred, f who, when endeavouring to evade the amatory 
attentions of Caradoc, a seventh-century Prince of Wales, was cruelly beheaded 
by him. Her tears into a fountain turned 

" ' The pure vermilion blood, that issued from her veins, 

Unto this very day the pearly gravel stains "J 

and her hair was changed into the moss aforesaid. Whatever living thing may be 
thrown into this well will float, and with its waters diseases may be washed away. 
The, probably, real story of this lady as given by Mr. Baring-Gould, is not quite 
as marvellous as the one just told ; he says the so-called blood-streaks are caused 
by iron]! in the stone, and declares that the moss has lost its savour. Moreover, 
' it is remarkable that in the Survey of Domesday Book which includes the county 
of Flint, neither church, chapel, nor well of S. Winifred is mentioned ; affording 
the presumption that the story and celebrity of the saint are of later date than the 
Norman Conquest.' James the Second came on a pilgrimage to S. Winifred's 

* Pol. iv. [ii. 731], f p l. x . [iji. 846, 847]. 

J When wet the earth at Hastings is still red (Pol. xviii. fiii. 981]) ; and at 
Boroughbridge no grass grows where the Barons were defeated (The fSarons* 
Wars, Book II. v., 51 [i. 120]). Nature has a good memory. 

Lives of the Saints, Part I., pp. 69-72. 

II Mr. Askew Roberts, well known as the author of A Gossiping Guide to 
Wales, attributes them to the growth of Byssut lo'.ithus, and says the moss is 
jfungermannia asflenium. 

Notes. 329 

Well, and touched for the Evil on its steps, the curative power of regal hands 
having been left, as Drayton chronicles, an heirloom to the English throne by 
Edward the Confessor. 

12 (page 74). In 1852, Part I., p. 485, Mr. Albert Way writes : "The only 
doubtful word is YCCI : to which I object, because the V in GY, and that in 
WARWYC, are bold, well defined letters, and if the first character in the word in 
question resembled them, there could be no mistaking it. Mr. Wright proposed 
to read VE CI, implying ' See here ;' but I have no doubt that we should read 

that is, qui id, who here slays." In 1818, Part II., p. 305, is the following : 

" i)rayton, in the I3th Song of his ' Polyolbion,' thus enumerates the principal 
victories ascribed to him in romance : 

" ' To thee, renowned Knight, continual praise we owe, 
And at thy hallow'd tomb thy yearly obits shew ; 
Who, thy dear Phillis' name and country to advance, 
Left'st Warwick's wealthy seat, and sailing into France, 
At tilt from his proud steed Duke Otton threw'st to ground, 
And with th' invalued prize of Blanch the beauteous crown'd 
(The Almain Emperor's heir) high acts didst there atchieve; 
As Lovain thou again didst valiantly relieve. 
Thou in the Soldan's blood thy worthy sword imbru'dst, 
And then in single fight great Amerant subdu'dst. 
"fwas thy Herculean hand which happily destroy'd 
That Dragon which so long Northumberland annoy'd ; 
And slew that cruel Boar, which waste our woodlands laid, 
Whose tusks turn'd up our tilths, and dens in meadows made, 
Whose shoulder-blade remains at Coventry till now ; 
And at our humble sute, did quell that monstrous Cow, 
The passengers that us'd from Dunsmore to affright. 
Of all our English, yet, O most renowned knight. 
That Colebrond overcam'st ; at whose amazing fall 
The Danes remov'd their camp from Winchester's sieg'd wall. 
Thy statue Guy's cliff keeps, the gazer's eye to please, 
Warwick, thy mighty arms, thou English Hercules !' " 

Numerous editions of this story have from time to time been issued under the 
title of The History of the Famous Exploits of Guy, Earl of Warwick. The Early 
English Text Society has included it among their romances, edited by Dr. J. 
Zupita, in 1875. 

The other editions are: London, 1560 (William Copland), 410. 
1670, broadside folio. 
,, 1680 (C. Bates, at the Sun and Bible, in Pye 

Corner), 410. 

,, 1695, 410., black letter. 
,, 1706, 121110. 
,, 1711, I2mo. 
1733, 121110. 
1750, I2mo. 
Newcastle, 1780, I2mo. 
London, 1790, 8vo. 
Derby, 1796, I2mo. 
Nottingham, 1796, 121110. 
Newcastle, 1800, I2mo. 
Chiswick, 1821, I2mo. 
Leamington, 1840, 8vo. 

13 (page 75). See Henderson's Folklore of the Northern Counties (Folklore 
Society, 1879), p. 283 et seqq. 

330 Notes. 

14 (page 79). See Henderson's Folklore of the Northern Counties (Folklore 
Society, 1879), pp. 292-295. A chap-book version of this legend was printed 
at Newcastle in 1785, and bears the press-mark 11621, c. 4, at the British Museum. 

15 (page 83). The statutes referred to (of Winchester, 13 Ed. I. and 5th Ed. 
III.) are given in the Rolls folio edition of Acts of Parliament, and the term 
Roberdsmen is thus alluded to in the latter Act : " And because there have been 
divers manslaughters, felonies, and robberies done in times past by people that be 
called Roberdesmen Wastors, and Draw-latches," sec. xiv. 

15* (misprinted 17, page 90). Wynkyn de Worde printed Rycharde Rolle 
hermyte of Hampull in his contemplacyons of the drede and loue of God, with other 
dyuerse tytles as sheweth in his table. 410. A copy of this is in Trinity College 
Library, Cambridge, and another edition (?), bearing date MCCCCCVL, is in 
the Grenville Collection at the British Museum. See Hazlitt's Collections and 
Notes, first and second series. 

16 (page 93). The Rev. Isaac Taylor, in The Academy of 1 3th October, draws 
attention to the mythological characteristics of the " Robin Hood Legend." He 
writes : " Is he not, like William of Cloudesley and William Tell, a faint 
Western echo of the solar heroes of Aryan mythology ? William Tell has been 
conclusively identified with William of Cloudesley, whose very name goes far to 
establish his relation to the Nibelungs, the heroes of Cloudland ; and it is no less 
difficult to separate William of Cloudesley from Robin Hood. Hence, we may 
affirm, almost in the words of Prof. Max Mu'ller, that Robin Hood, like ' William 
Tell, the good archer, is the last reflection of the Sun-God, whether we call him 
Indra, or Apollo, or Ulysses.' Like other solar heroes, he has his faint reflection 
in Little John, who stands to him in the same relation as Patrocles to Achilles, 
Telemachus to Ulysses, Gunnar to Sigurd, or Lancelot to Arthur. Maid Marian 
will therefore be the dawn maiden, to be identified with Briseis, Brynhild, and 
Guinevere. Friar Tuck is one of the triumvirate who appear also in the Cloudes- 
ley and Tell legends, and may possibly be represented in the southern version of 
the legend by Pantaloon, Columbine being the dawn maiden and Harlequin the 
solar hero. As for the name of Robin Hood, which Mr. Bradley endeavours to 
explain, I would venture to conjecture that we may find him in the Hotherus of 
Saxo-Grammaticus, who of course is the blind archer Hodr, who, in the Edda, 
slays his brother Balder. Hodr means the ' warrior.' In the later version Hagen, 
who is undoubtedly Odin, has been confounded with Hodr ; while in the English 
legend Robin Hood and Little John, if they are to be identified with Balder and 
Hodr, the brother archers of the Teutonic sun-myth, seem to some extent to have 
changed places. The fact that the Robin Hood ballads are localized only in those 
parts of England in which there was a Scandinavian element is in itself significant 
as to the channel through which the legend reached our shores." 

But the latest contribution to this important subject is an article by the late 
Henry Charles Coote, F.S.A., in the Folklore Journal (1885), vol. iii., pp. 43-52, 
entitled "The Origin of the Robin Hood Epos." Mr. Coote says: "Though 
history has ignored the disagreeable fact, there is no real difficulty in showing that 
communism was publicly advocated in this country in the reign of that too glorious 
monarch, Edward III. The disastrous outbreak of the English Jacquerie under 
the weak rule of his unfortunate successor has doubtless attracted all attention to 
itself, to the oblivion of the older fact. It took also, as we shall see, the milder 
form, much as the Wickliffe agitation did, of inculcating its principles by oral and 
literary means only ; declining, at least until a more favourable season, the ulti- 
mate and inevitable vote de fait, which was probably intentionally reserved until 
the disbanded soldiery of Edward should be thrown broadcast into the land. The 
original agitation to which I shall call attention was distinguished from the later 
and actual insurrection in a most important and vital point. It was, as we shall 
see, a communistic claim made in the name of the yeomen or farmers, and ignored 
utterly the serfs or agricultural labourers, who do not appear upon the stage in the 

Notes. 331 

new r6le of agitators until the next reign. Though the later movement, from its 
large volume and its well-defined atrocities, has exclusively engaged the attention 
of students, there is much in the earlier agitation that deserves careful considera- 
tion, as well for its philosophical as its social bearings, notwithstanding that its 
inception never crossed the threshold of mere poetry. My remarks have special 
reference to the Robin Hood ballads. These interesting poems, though they may 
seem to us now merely harmless outbursts of enthusiastic and rude poetasters, 
were in their origin intended for anything rather than innocent and superfluous 
diversion. They were really intended to exasperate the rude mind of the yeomen 
into a ruthless crusade against the clergy and landed gentry ; the proposed result 
of that crusade, if it should be successful, being their entire disappropriation for 
the behoof of a new order of proprietors, the yeomen. We have reason to believe 
that the Robin Hood ballads were a long series in their first composition. But, 
if that were so, most of them (I mean the genuine ones) have long since perished ; 
two only, such as we can accept with full faith in their authenticity, remaining to 
our days. There is, however, sufficient in these two to furnish us with the true 
scope and intention of the agitators without any possibility of mistake or serious 
misconception. The necessary data are supplied to us by the ' Litel Geste of 
Robin Hood' and 'Robin Hood and the Potter.' These two poems (of which 
the first is infinitely the best) will be found to lay bare the object and philosophy 
of the then new social science." Mr. Coote then deals with the subject at some 

17 (page 96). Mr. Moncure Conway, in the Nineteenth Century for May, 1880, 
and again in his work on The Wandering few (1881), treats of the "pound of 
flesh incident. In the Asiatic Journal for May August, 1834, vol. xiv., N.S., 
is a valuable article on "The Origin of the Story of Shylock," pp. 19-22. A 
curious parallel is found in the story of Loki's wager with Brock (Skalda 35, Sim- 
rock's Edda, p. 305). The Asir decide in favour of the latter, but Loki, who has 
wagered his head, saves himself by the plea that the head alone belongs to his 
adversary; the neck must not be touched. Hahn (Studien, pp. 140 et seq. ) touches 
on this story in his elaborate parallel between Loki and Prometheus, but has 
nothing to say about this particular incident. 

In 1880 Captain R. Carnac Temple, the well-known student of folklore and 
Indian antiquities, kindly sent the editor of this volume from India a translation 
of some Tales told in the Deccan. They are a " literal translation of the ffikdy/it 
Latifah of Muhammad Abd-ul-aziz of Madras, in the Dakhani Dialect," and this 
seems to be a direct copy of the ffik&ydt-i-Lalif, to be found in Gladwin's Persian 
Moonshee, an educational work published in 1801. But from what source Mr. 
Gladwin gathered his collection of stories Captain Temple, in his introduction, 
says he has not been able to find out. They appear to be of native origin. The 
following story, No. 9 in the collection, is transcribed exactly as it stands : " A 
man made a bet with another about a game, and said, ' If I do not win the game 
you may cut from my body a seer (i.e., 2 Ib. ) of flesh.' When he did not win the 
game the winner wished to close the bet, but the man would not agree to it. 
They both went before the judge. The judge said to the winner, ' Pardon him 
the bet,' but he would not agree to do it. The judge, being very angry, said, 
1 Cut away, but if you cut more or less than a seer (2 Ib. ) I will punish you.' The 
winner, being helpless, forgave him the bet." 

18 (page 98). See also Gentleman's Magazine Library, ' Manners and Cus- 
toms,' pp. 195-197. 

19 (page 98). Mr. Hazlitt, in his Collections and Notes, 2nd series, notices only 
an edition of 1536 : Dives and Pavpcr. Londini in tedibus Tho. Bertheleti regij 
impress, excus. Here endethe a compendiouse treatyse or dialogs of Dives and 
Pavper, That is to say the ryche and the poore . . . xvi day of Oitobre. In 
thyere of our lorde 1536. Imprynted in Flete Strete by me, Thomas Berthelet, 

332 Notes. 

prynter vnto the Kynges mooste noble grace, dwellynge at the Sygnt of the Lucrece. 

20 (page 99). This legend became very popular during the Middle Ages, as it 
forms one of the romances told in the well-known Seven Wise Masters of Kome. 
In the edition printed by Wynkyn de Worde it is the story told by the first master, 
and may be summarised as follows : A knight had one son also a greyhound and 
a falcon the knight went to a tournay a serpent in the hall attacked the child 
the falcon roused the attention of the greyhound the greyhound fought the serpent 
and killed it the greyhound, wounded, went and laid down by the cradle of the 
child, which became covered with his blood the nurses coming in thought the 
child was killed by the greyhound they tell their mistress, who tells the knight 
the knight kills the greyhound he afterwards discovers his error and repents. 
This valuable book has been reprinted from the British Museum edition by the 
Villon Society in the series of " Chap Books and Folklore Tracts," edited by 
G. L. Gomme, F.S. A., and Henry B. Wheatley, F.S.A. 

21 (page 107). The MSS. of the Corporation of Axbridge have been calen- 
dared by the Historical MSS. Commission, Report iii., pp. 300-308, and the MS. 
containing the Cheddar legend is duly mentioned. 

22 (page 109). In the Antiquary (1884), vol. x., pp. 202-205, ' s given some 
extra notes on the legend of the Pedlar of Swaffham and of the Lambeth Pedlar, 
mentioned in the text : 

" The best account of the Lambeth legend is one given in Long Ago for Sep- 
tember, 1873 (vol. i., p. 271), taken from a manuscript in the handwriting of 
Archdeacon Drune, formerly Rector of Lambeth. A descendant of the venerable 
Archdeacon, the Rev. Bradford Drune Hawkins, Rector of Riverdale, Witham, 
forwarded the account to the editor of Long Ago ; and the following is a literal 
transcript : 

" ' Among the estates belonging to the parish of Lambeth is a piece of land, 
antiently call'd Church Hopys,* but since called Pedlar's Acre. For what reasons 
it was so call'd I cannot learn, finding no historical vouchers to justify what the 
writer of the New View of London says about it in page 381 ; that a Pedlar gave 
this acre of land, besides ye following Benefactions in money, viz.: 
To ye Parish ... ... ^600 

To ye Archbishop ... ... loo o o 

To ye Rector ... ... 20 o o 

To ye Clerk and Sexton each ... 10 o o 

for leave (as tradition reports) to bury his dog in ye churchyard. So far is true, 
that there is a Picture of a Pedlar and his dog in painted glass in ye window over 
ye Pulpit ; wh suffering by the high wind was renewed at ye Parish expense in 
'73 ( Vestry Book, fol. 7-19). There appears to have been a like picture theie in 
1607 (Old Vestry Book, fol. 171-173), tho' this Land was not then call'd by ye 
name of Pedlar's Acre : nor in the lease granted February 2Oth, 1656. The first 
mention of that name, as far as I can find, was in ye lease August 6th, 1690. And 
might not this story take its rise from another Benefactor ? of whom we have ye 
following account given by Bp. Gibson in his Edition of Camden : " Henry Smith 
was once a Silver Smith in London, but he did not follow that trade long. He 
afterwards went a begging for many years, and was commonly called Dog Smith, 
because he had a dog wh always followed him when he dyed, he left a very 
great estate in ye hands of Trustees upon a general acct of Charity, and more 
particularly for Surrey After ye Trustees had made a considerable improvement 
of ye estate, and purchas'd several farms, they settled 5old. per annum or there- 
abouts upon every market-town in Surrey, or gave looold. in money upon every 
Parish excepting one or two they settled a yenrly revenue. Among ye rest, Lam- 
beth has lold." (Camden, vol. i., p. 393). From this acct I should suspect ye 

* Old Vestry Book, fol. 2-5. 


picture of ye 'Pedlar and his Dog to have been put up in memory of. Mr. Smith, 
and to have no relation to ye Benefactor, who gave Church Hopys ; could I acct 
for its being put up before his death, as it was in 1607, whereas he dyed in 1627, 
and was bur. at Wandsworth. And yet such seems to have been ye Temper of ye 
man, yt he might do this in his own lifetime (as tradition says of the Pedlar), upon 
ye burial of his Dog in ye churchyard. He was whipt at Mitcham as a common 
vagrant for wh reason this parish was excluded from his Benefactions (Aubrey's 
History, vol. ii., p. 142). The Benefactor is unknown ; but it appears to have 
been ye estate of ye Parish befor ye year 1504,* for its Rent was then brought 
into the Church Account ; and its Title was defendedt out of the Church Stock, 
agst the claim of Mr. Easton in 1581. It was formerly^ an osier ground, and then 
let at small rack rents, but being afterwards severed and inclosed as a meadow, 
long leases were granted of it, and probably with a view to building ; the last 
whereof dated August 6, 1690, for a term of 6 1 years at the yearly rent of 4, 
payable quarterly.' 

"This account seems to contain all that is to be found about the Lambeth 
Pedlar and his acre. In 1851 Mr. John Smith asked in the pages of Willis's 
Current Notes (p. 59), whether any information could be obtained which connected 
the pedlar with the Henry Smith mentioned above, but he obtained no reply in 
response to his query. 

"The earliest account of the Swaffham Pedlar story to be found is that by Sir 
Roger Twysden quoted in Blomefield's History of Norfolk (vol. vi., pp. 211-213). 
Another, and it appears an independent version, is given in the Diary of Abraham 
de la Pryme, published by the Surtees Society. At page 220 of this volume, 
the following relation occurs : 

" 'Constant tradition says that there lived in former times, in Soffham (Swaff- 
ham), alias Sopham, in Norfolk, a certain pedlar, who dreamed that if he went to 
London bridge, and stood there, he should hear very joyfull newse, which he at 
first sleighted, but afterwards, his dream being dubled and trebled upon him, he 
resolved to try the issue of it, and accordingly went to London, and stood on the 
bridge there two or three days, looking about him, but heard nothing that might 
yield him any comfort. At last it happened that a shopkeeper there, hard by, 
haveing noted his fruitless standing, seeing that he neither sold any wares nor 
asked any almes, went to him and most earnestly begged to know what he wanted 
there, or what his business was ; to which the pedlar honestly answered, that he 
had dreamed that if he came to London and stood there upon the bridge, he should 
hear good newse ; at which the shopkeeper laught heartily, asking him if he was 
such a fool as to take a journey on such a silly errand, adding, " I'll tell thee, 
country fellow, last night I dreamed that I was at Sopham, in Norfolk, a place 
utterly unknown to me, where methought behind a pedlar's house in a certain 
orchard, and under a great oak-tree, if I digged I should find a vast treasure ! 
Now think you," says he, " that I am such a fool to take such a long journey upon 
me upon the instigation of a silly dream ? No, no, I'm wiser. Therefore, good 
fellow, learn witt from me, and get you home, and mind your business." The petllar, 

* Old Vestry Book, fol. 2-5. 

f Old Vestry Book,io\. 104, and 108-110. Mr. Easton 's claim was probably 
from a purchase of lands, given to superstitious uses under a Statute I. Edward 
VI., cap. 14, sec. 5 (1542), wh vested such in ye crown (Gibson, Cod. 2nd vol. 
p. 1256). The Court Rolls were searched and quit-rent paid for it in 1648. 
Old Vestry Book, fol. 2836. 

% So called in 1623 (Old Vestry Book, fol. 223-6-225 a), in 1629 (Old Vestry 
Book, fol. 241), and in 1654 ( Vestry Book. fol. l), but in ye lease February 6, 1656, 
it was served and inclosed as a meadow, having been an osier Hoper. Thus 
described likewise in ye lease August 6, 1690, though it be also there called 
Pedlar's Acre, and as containing by estimation one acre more or less, tho' I never 
found it so call'd in ye Parish Acct Books till 1705. 



observing his words, what he had say'd he dream'd and knowing they concenter'd 
in him, glad of such joyful newse, went speedily home, and digged and found a 
prodigious great treasure, with which he grew exceeding rich, and Soffham 
(Church) being for the most part fal'n down, he set on workmen and re-edifyd it 
most sumptuously, at his own charges ; and to this day there is his statue therein, 
but in stone, with his pack at his back, and his dogg at his heels ; and his memory 
is also preserved by the same form or picture in most of the old glass windows, 
taverns, and alehouses of that town unto this day.' 

" It is rather curious that the following almost identical account is told in the 
St. James' Chronicle, of z8th November, 1786, which shows that the writer had 
obtained the legend from the same source as Abraham de la Pryme, and that the 
traditional form had been faithfully preserved : 

" ' A Pedlar who lived many Years ago at Swaffham, in Norfolk, dreamt, that 
if he came up to London, and stood upon the Bridge, he should hear very joyful 
News ; which he at first slighted, but afterwards his Dream being doubled and 
trebled unto him, he resolved to try the Issue of it; and accordingly to London he 
came, and stood on the Bridge for two or three Days, but heard nothing which 
might give him Comfort that the Profits of his Journey would be equal to his 
Pains. At last it so happened that a Shopkeeper there, having noted his fruitless 
standing, seeing that he neither sold any Wares, or asked any Alms, went to him, 
and enquired his Business ; to which the Pedlar made Answer, that being a Coun- 
tryman, he had dreamt a Dream, that if he came up to London, he should hear 
good News : "And art thou (said the Shopkeeper) such a Fool, to take a Journey 
on such a foolish Errand? Why, I tell thee this last Night I dreamt that I was 
at Swaffham, in Norfolk, a Place utterly unknown to me, where, methought, 
behind a Pedlar's House, in a certain Orchard, under a great Oak Tree, if I digged 
there, I should find a mighty Mass of Treasure. 

" Now, think you, that I am so unwise as to take so long a Journey upon me, 
only by the Instigation of a foolish Dream ! No, no, far be such Folly from 
me ; therefore, honest Countryman, I advise thee to make haste Home again, 
and do not spend thy precious Time in the Expectation of the Event of an idle 

" ' The Pedlar, who noted well his Words, glad of such joyful News, went 
speedily Home, and digged under the Oak, where he found a very large Heap of 
Money ; with Part of which, the Church being then lately fallen down, he very 
sumptuously rebuilt it ; having his Statue cut therein, in Stone, with his Pack 
on his Back and his Dog at his Heels, which is to be seen at this Day. And his 
Memory is also preserved by the same Form, or Picture, on most of the Glass 
Windows of the Taverns and Alehouses in that Town. 

" ' I am not a Bigot in Dreams, yet I cannot help acknowledging the Relation 
of the above made a strong Impression on me. 

" ' Yours, Z.' 

" In Clyde's Norfolk Garland, p. 69, is an account of this legend, but with an 
additional fact. The box containing the treasure had a Latin inscription on the 
lid, which, of course, John Chapmnn could rot decipher. He craftily put the lid 
in his window, and very soon he heard some youths turn the Latin sentence into 
English : 

" ' Under me doth lie 

Another much richer than I.' 

And he went to work digging deeper than before, and found a much richer treasure 
than the former. Another version of this rhyme is found in Transactions of the 
Cambridge Antiquarian Society, vol. iii., p. 318 : 

" ' Where this stood, 
Is another as good.' 

" Blomefield, in his History of Norfolk, points out that the same story is found 
in Johannes Fungerus' Etymologion Latino-Gr>tcttm, pp. 1IIO, II II, though it is 

Notes. 335 

here narrated of a man at Dort in Holland. Mr. Cowell, in the third volume of 
the Cambridge Antiquarian Society Transactions, p. 320, has printed a remark- 
able parallel of the story which is to be found in the great Persian metaphysical 
and religious poem called the ' Nasnavi,' written by Jalaluddin, who died about 

Mr. William E. A. Axon, writing in the Antiquary (188$), vol. xi., pp. 167-168, 
says : "The popularity of the legend is evidenced by its insertion into that very 
popular folk-book the New Help to Discourse, which was often printed between 
1619 and 1696. In this occurs the following question and answer : 

"'Q. Who was it, according to report, that built the Church of Sopham in 

"'A tradition tells us that in former times there lived in that town a certain pedlar, 
who dreamed if he came up to London, and stood on the bridge there, he should 
hear very joyful news, which he at first slighted ; but afterwards, his dream being 
doubled and trebled unto him, he resolved to try the issue of it, and accordingly 
to London he came, and stood on the bridge there for two or three days, but heard 
nothing which might give him comfort, that the profits of his journey would be 
equal to his pains. At last it so happened that a shopkeeper there, hard by, 
having noted his fruitless standing, seeing that he neither sold any wares nor asked 
an alms, went to him, and demanded his business ; to which the pedlar made 
answer, 'That being a countryman, he dreamed a dream that if he came up to 
London he should hear good news.' 'And art thou,' said the shopkeeper, 'such 
a fool to take a journey on such a foolish errand ? Why, I tell thee, last night I 
dreamed that I was at Sopham in Norfolk, a place utterly unknown to me, where, 
methought, behind a pedlar-house in a certain orchard, and under a great oak-tree, 
if I digged there I should find a mighty mass of treasure. Now, think you, that 
I am so unwise to take so long a journey upon me, only by the instigation of a 
foolish dream? No, no, far be such folly from me; therefore, honest countryman, I 
shall advise thee to make haste home again, and not to spend thy precious time in 
the expectations of the event of an idle dream.' The pedlar, who noted well his 
words, and knowing all the things he had said to concentre in himself, glad of such 
joyful news, went speedily home and digged under the oak, where he found an in- 
finite mass of money, with part of which (the church happening to fall down) he 
very sumptuously re-edificed the same, having his statue therein to-day, cut out 
in stone, with his pack at his back and his dog at his heels ; his memory being 
preserved by the same form or picture in most of the glass windows in taverns and 
alehouses in that town to this day.' 

" The legend has also been current in Lancashire and in Cornwall. 

" The Saturday Review of December 28th, 1878, contains an amusing article on 
dreams, in which the following remarks occur : 

" ' To confess the truth, our thoughts have been turned into this channel by a 
dream we have lately met with, in faded manuscript, whose interest lies a good 
deal in the teller and the scene in which it was told. The story is headed, ' A 
Dream told by Mr. Whately in Oriel Common Room.' If it has ever found its 
way into print, we can only say we never saw it there, though there is a family 
likeness in all dreams that deal with hidden treasure. A cobbler in Somersetshire 
dreamt that a person told him that if he would go to London Bridge he would 
meet with something to his advantage. He dreamt the same the next night, and 
again the night after. He then determined to go to London Bridge, and walked 
thither accordingly. When arrived there, he walked about the whole of the first 
day without anything occurring ; the next day was passed in a similar manner. 
He resumed his place the third day, and walked about till evening, when, giving 
it up as hopeless, he determined to leave London, and return home. At this 
moment a stranger came up and said to him, ' I have seen you for the last three 
days walking up and down this bridge ; may I ask if you are waiting for anyone?' 
The answer was, "No." "Then, what is your object in staying here?" The 
cobbler then frankly told his reason for being there, and the dream that had visited 



him three successive nights. The stranger then advised him to go home again to 
his work, and no more pay any attention to dreams. ' I myself,' he said ' had 
about six months ago a dream. I dreamt three nights together that, if I would go 
into Somersetshire, in an orchard, under an apple-tree, I should find a pot of gold ; 
but I paid no attention to my dream, and have remained quietly at my business.' 
It immediately occurred to the cobbler that the stranger described his own orchard 
and his own apple-tree. He immediately returned home, dug under the apple- 
tree, and found a pot of gold. After this increase of fortune, he was enabled to 
send his son to school, where the boy learnt Latin. When he came home for the 
holidays, he one day examined the pot which had contained the gold, on which 
was some writing. He said, 'Father, I can show you what I have learnt at school 
is of some use.' He then translated the Latin inscription on the pot thus: 'Look 
under, and you will find better.' They did look under, and a larger quantity of 
gold was found." 

23 (page 116). The pageant of Lady Godiva was revived in 1884 at Coventry, 
when a large concourse of people attended. 

24 (page 118). This subject has been reprinted in small chap-book form by a 
local printer of Scarborough. 

25 (page 122). The communication here referred to does not give any informa- 
tion, and is not therefore printed. 

25* (page 130). Consult Waylami Smith : a Dissertation on a Tradition of the 
Middle Ages, from the French of G. B. Depping and Francisque Michel, with ati- 
ditwns by S. W. Singer. London, 1847, 8vo. 

26 (page 135). These fragments were contributed to the Gentleman 's Magazine 
by Macpherson before he issued his celebrated Ossianic Fragments of Ancient 
f'oelry, which was first published in 1760. No. I., p. 133, is Fragment V. in 
Macpherson; No. II., p. 134, Fragment XII. of Macpherson ; No. VI., p. 135, 
is Fragment VI. of Macpherson; No. VII., p. 136, is Fragment VII. of Mac- 
pherson. The book of Macpherson contained sixteen fragments altogether. The 
editions are as follows : Edinburgh, 1760; London, 1762, 1763,1765, 1773, 1776; 
Frankfort, 1783; London, 1784; Edinburgh, 1792; London, 1796; Edinburgh, 
1805; London, 1805, 1806, 1807; Edinburgh, 1812; London, 1812, 1822; 
Edinburgh, 1840 ; London, 1847. And the Aungervyle Society reprinted the 
first edition in December, 1881. 

The following should be consulted : The Poems of Ossian in the original Gaelic, 
with a Literal Translation into English and a Dissertation on the Authenticity 
of the Poems, by Rev. Archibald Clerk. Edinburgh and London, 1870, 2 vols. 

27 (page 141). Besides appearing in the Gentleman's Magazine, these interest- 
ing old Gaelic poems were also published in separate form, as a small volume, by 
the collector. This volume is very rare. There is no copy of it in the public 
libraries in England. As printed in the Gentleman's Magazine the original Gaelic 
is often unintelligible. Nor is this in the least surprising. The collector, Mr. 
T. F. Hill, was ignorant of the language. His chief scribe was not a man of 
much education ; and there is evidence, in the poems as printed, that his hand- 
writing was careless and indistinct. The printer shows some method and intelli- 
gence, as printers usually do, in his reading of the copy before him. But the copy 
was in an unknown tongue. The result is a text which, at first sight, appears to 
be "hopelessly corrupt." But it is not so in reality. The spelling is unusual and 
irregular. The spacing of the words is often most perplexing. Still the sub- 
stance of the poems is there, as hidden treasure, to him who honestly tries to dig 
out their meaning. It thus happens that, in correcting a proof which was a fair 
reproduction of Hill's original text, I have very seldom had to change a word. 
The changing of a letter, for doing which the right clue was not often hard to find ; 
the partial spacing-out of some rough, rugged nugget of conglomerate type ; the 
taking down from the line above of the word ihat should close the line below ; 

Notes. 337 

and sometimes the taking into iheir proper place in the lines of words which the 
printer, following his copy, had curiously perched between the lines this, with a 
careful and restricted indulgence of one's ' happy faculty of guessing," was amply 
sufficient for setting the poems before the reader in a form which, it is hoped, will 
be found reasonably readable. The old spelling has been carefully preserved, and 
no attempt has been made to space out the words more than was usual when the 
original text was first printed. The English translation is retained, with all its 
imperfections. It is mostly a gloss ; and its guesses are often amusingly wide of 
the mark, as when it speaks of the Fingalian hero being "the father of many 
children," when it should have said that he was a man of " valiant exploits." To 
make the thing worse, the worthy collector of the poems converts this slip of his 
translator into the basis of an elaborate theory on Fingalian ethics. lint the 
translation gives us, in good flowing English, a graphic picture of what the average 
mind of the day rejoiced to find in these old heroic ballads. And if materially 
changed at all, the English of the poems would have to be simply done over 
again. It won't stand patching. And a new translation is not expected in a 

Mr. Hill's second edition, published separately in 1784, and differing in some 
respects from his papers in the Gentleman's Magazine, was in 1877-78 reprinted in 
the Gael by Messrs. Maclachlan and Stewart ; who at the same time, from the 
types of the Gael, issued the little work in the form of a pamphlet of 35 pages. 
The following are notes upon the most important points : 
P. 143, verse 3. In Hill's text the word nochd closes the second line of this 
verse, where it is obviously out of place. The scribe probably wrote it above the 
end of the third line, to which it properly belongs. In the third line, thus restored, 
a clerich, as in the first line of the poem, counts for two syllables. It must, how- 
ever, be stated that (i) three other versions place nochd in the second line, and 
(2) that this word, now used only as a verb -to reveal, was last century known as 
an adjective = naked : cf. lom-nochd= naked, literally bare-naked, or, as we would 
say, stark-naked. 

P. 143, verse 5. Bithin = bitheadh? 

P. 144, verse 10. Caol = the strait ? They had not yet left the shore. 
P. 144, verse 12. This verse may be taken as furnishing a sample of the altera- 
tions which in this reprint are ordinarily made on Hill's text. The word leat, in 
the second line, Hill printed as leal, a misprint so common in his text as to 
warrant the conclusion that his scribe never crossed his /, and that his proof was 
never seen by a Gaelic reader. Such conglomerations of printed matter as 
coshaoleadhtu, many curious specimens of which may be found in Hill's text, have 
in this reprint been spaced out, though not to the full extent which the reader 
might desire, yet to such an extent as fairly to illustrate the practice of our early 
Gaelic printers. Remembering that this is not an independent edition, but a 
reprint, my main object has been to supply the place of the Gaelic proof-reader of 
1783, and so to put the student of to-day in possession of such a text as the ordi- 
nary Gaelic proof-reader of 1783 might be expected to produce. The principle 
on which I have dealt with the matter of punctuation is elsewhere explained. On 
Hill's irregular use of capital letters, and on the peculiarities of his phonetic 
spelling, I have not allowed myself to make any change. My care has been to 
hand over these poems to the student as nearly as possible in the same form as 
that in which they left the hands of the worthy blacksmith of Dalmaly, one 
hundred and five years ago. [It is Dr. Masson who here speaks.] 

P. I4 5, verse ,8. j 
The second and third lines of this verse stand thus in Hill's text : 

"O Rioghachd Lochlan nan Colg scann 
Mar han a Mheadacha air Fhion." 

After careful study of these obviously corrupt and untranslatable lines I have 
VOL. IV. 22 



come to the conclusion that scann and Mar han found their way into the MS. as 
alternative readings: scann 's gann "\l is hardly so," and mar han=-mar 
h-ann "if it be not so." Of the two renderings I prefer the former: "It is 
scarcely to increase the number of the Fingalians that my Lord has come over 
the sea." 

P. 146, verse 25. Lochan lain<=* diminutive of Loch-Ian-' the full, or unebbing 
lake. Is this the Baltic ? And do we thus get at the origin of Lochlan, that 
home of the much-feared Northlander, so heartily hated by the Gael ? 

P. 147, verse 26 : 

" S Cinn a Dha chomhirlich dheig." 

Hill's translator makes this line, " His twelve nobles had a sweet voice " a 
stupendous blunder, but a blunder of simple origin. The scribe wrote his small b 
and his capital C so much alike that the translator mistook the one for the other ; 
reading binn, sweet, for Cinn, heads. The proper translation is, " The heads of 
his twelve councillors." In verse 30 the translator makes a similar mistake ; but 
vice versa. Taking l> for C, he makes the Fingalians at their midnight feasts quaff 
horns of wax instead of beer. 

P. 147, verse 30. Car should read boir. See note on verse 26. 

P. 147, verse 31. ' Meirg Riogh Lochlan." Mcirg usually means "rust." 
Hill's translator thus got on the wrong scent, and speaks of the "iron King." The 
word here is evidently used in its other sense, as a "banner." 

" Ga hogail on Traibh nan Nuchd," he translates, "Coming in his youth, from 
the shore, before his men." The scribe's phonetic spelling has here led the trans- 
lator astray. The true meaning is, " Being raised on the shore in their strong 
embrace." l'c/id may fitly name the soft bosom of love; but in the form of 
uchdaclui it as fitly describes the strong breast-grip of a deep-chested, powerful 
burden-bearer, proud and buoyant in the sense of his all-mastering vigour. The 
line might then read : "Carrying him shoulder-high from the shore." 

P. 149, verse 42. Ki holc^ "given to drink," is probably a misprint for ri 
^-wV = given to wickedness. But the verse, as it stands, makes very good sense, 
and is thoroughly consistent : for, in good sooth, this poor " Connan without hair " 
speaks here like a man who, if not really in his cups, was but the hair-brained 
clown of the goodly Fingaliaii fellowship. 

P. 150, verse 47 : 

" Triur bo mho Glonn san Fhein." 

The translator here mistakes glonn for claim, and makes the three Fingalians 
" The fathers of most children," instead of " The three men of proudest fame." 
P. 152, line 2 : 

"Air chuideachd a chaoidh so chuaidh." 

Allowing for Hill's irregular spelling, and changing s for f in so, this line might 
be rendered, "On a people for ever under lamentation " = of a people ever- 
more to be lamented. But some of the parallel versions in Leabhar na Feinnt 
read : "A chuideachd chaoimh so chuaidh" " This beloved people that are gone." 
P. 153, bottom line : 

" But go with Grain, the faithless, 
Anew bringing me under spells." 

By her wicked spells Grain, Fingal's wife, had so bewitched Diarmid that he 
eloped wilt) her. One of the versions in Leabhar na feinne, instead of Sa huir, 
reads 'S a tuar : a rendering which would remove the difficuliies of this perplex- 
ing passage. The verse would then read : " I did no harm on thee ever, here or 
there, east or west, but going with Graine in guilt, her beauty bringing me under 
wicked spells." Cf. L. na F., p. 163. 

P. 1 54, third line from top. Loin = ' ' blackbirds, " is manifestly a mistranslation 
for "elks." 

Notes. 339 

P. 154, line 13 from top. " Air a thaobh feall." Featt is evidently an adjective 
qualifying taobh. It may mean, perhaps, his " left " side, his " luckless " side, or 
his "hapless" side. But I cannot with confidence translate the word in this 
connexion. I suspect a corruption of the text, on which, however, the other 
versions of the poem give me no light. I incline to the last of the three mean- 
ings above suggested. Feall means "treachery," or even "murder " : and there 
the victim of foul treachery, the murdered hero, lay on his " hapless " side. 

P. 154, line 5 from bottom : 

"Guill ei de:vdh oir is eah." 

This line appears to be hopelessly corrupt. Playing with the echo of its lost self, 
the line takes, in a great variety of versions, as great a variety of fleeting, shadowy 
shapes, in which I can find no tangible substance. The Dean of Lismore, as 
interpreted by Dr. Maclauchlan, has : 

" Immir deit eyde is each 
Fer in neygin creach nar charre 
Gilli a bar gasga is seith 
Ach troyg mir a teich so ghlenn." 

McNicol's MSS., as copied in Leabhar na Feinne, has the following, among other 
versions : 

" Guilligh edidh oir as Each, 
'S an Eigin nan creach nach gann ; 
Laibh bu bhor gaisge a Gniomh 
Ochain mar ha n T-saoigh san ghleann/' 

The text of this poem remains unpunctuated, just as, in that respect, it was left 
in the Gentleman's Magazine, upwards of a century ago. This has been done 
with the purpose of showing the reader how Gaelic poetry, so to speak, punctuates 
itself. Every line of good Gaelic poetry ought to deliver its own message, without 
borrowing from the line above, or intruding upon the line below. In point of 
fact, good Gaelic poetry should as little depend for effect on commas and semi- 
colons as good English prose should need the questionable help of italics. 

P. 156, top line. Luath garg 'v* translated "bold hand." It is therefore pro- 
bable that the scribe wrote laibh. Two other versions give sluagh and stuagh, 
" people " and " wrath " respectively. 

P. 157. Bhi, between the lines. This is not an alternative reading, as in other 
portions of Hill's text. It is a word omitted in the MS., and afterwards put in 
by the scribe above the line. The printer, having no guidance in the matter, 
simply followed his " copy." The word should come into the line between bhiast 
and teachd: "Tshauntich a bhaist bhi teachd nan innis." It is more than curious 
that the same omission, in exactly the same place, appears to have been made in 
McNicol's MS., quoted on p. 68 of Leabhar na Feinne. But the word bhi, as 
there printed, is taken down into the line at the wrong place. This curious 
blunder in Hill's text is not corrected. It may serve as a warning to our tran- 
scribers, and yield a useful hint to the paleographer. 

P. 158. " M' athion maol ruagh." These words also were added by the scribe 
above the line, and the printer followed his copy as before. The words are now 
brought down into their place in the line. 

P. 159, line 22: 

" Uaigh chunnair e Bratich a tin." 

In McNicol's Collection, as printed in Leabhar na Feinne, p. 74, the first word 
of this line, as printed by Hill, forms the last word of the previous verse ; and the 
lines of this verse are divided in a way entirely different from the form in which 

22 2 

34O Notes. 

Hill has given them. Neither division of the lines appears to me to be free from 
confusion. M<~~ 
carrying it over 

confusion. McNicol's setting of the lines separates the adjective from the noun, 
iver into a new line, a thing unusual in old Gaelic poetry. 

The large number of alternative readings and spellings in this poem shows the 
uncertain condition of the "copy" from which it was printed, in 1783. The ver- 
sion of McNicol is similarly unsatisfactory. 

P. 162, verse 2 : " Oshein nan glonn " " Ossian of great deeds." See Note, 
p. 150, verse 47, ante, p. 338. 

P. 163, verse 6 : 

"Ga beag a Chubhail chrobhnanach." 

Chub/tail is a barbarous way of spelling chiuil. The sense seems to be : Low 
though be tlie crooning music and the murmured moan of (Greine ?), yet, unknown 
to the mighty king, no sound goes from the edge of thy shield. 
P. 163, verse 7 : '"N saoil " was printed by Hill, " "Noavil." 
P. 167, verse 27. The first two lines should be thus divided : 

" (A) Phadruig ma thug u cead 
Beagann a labhairt duin." 

P. 168, verse 31. The last sentence of the translation should read : " Nor die) 
he ever refuse anyone for anything." 

P. 168, verse 32. "Shithair" = shithfhear = a strong man? (See Shaw's 
Dictionary.) l.eabliar na f'einne gives, " Air Shean Druim Cliar." 

The hopeless task of correcting Hill's translation of this poem has not been 
attempted. His text, as he printed it, is often untranslatable ; but no pains have 
been spared to make it now, though only a reprint, such a text as the student will 
find to be, on the whole, satisfactory. 

The late Mr. J. F. Campbell, in his volume " Leabhar na Feinne : Heroic 
Gaelic ballads collected in Scotland, chiefly from 1512 to 1871, copied from old 
AfSS. preserved at Edinburgh and elsewhere, and from rare Books and orally, 
collected since 1859; with Lists of Collections and of their contents, and with a 
short Account of the Documents quoted. (Vol. i., 'Gaelic Texts.') Arranged by 
J. F. Campbell. London : 1872." Fol. Pp. xxxvi. 224 gives the following 
description of " Hill's Collection," printed in the Gentleman's Magazine: 

Order. Catch-words. Lines. 

1 Ossian's prayer . . . 144 

2 Muileartach .... 87 

3 Manus 188 

4 Fionn's tribute ... 46 

5 Bran's death .... 54 

6 Diarmaid .... 

7 Diarmaid .... 66 

8 Death of Oscar . . .96 

9 The tailor to the Feinne . . 68 


Mr. Campbell says : "I have not reprinted any part of Hill's Collection." At 
page xxiii. of the Introduction to the same volume, Mr. Campbell says, "In Reed's 
Bibliolheca Scoto-Celtica, pp. 109, 166, mention is made of Thomas Ford Hill's 
ancient Erse poems, collected among the Scottish Highlands, in order to illustrate 
the Ossian of Mr. MacPherson (1784, 8vo., p. 34). No copy is in the British 
Museum, or in the Advocate's Library, or in Trinity College or in the Bodleian. 
The collector was an Englishman, who travelled in the Highlands in 1780. The 
collection is mentioned at p. 50 of the 'Report on Ossian,' 1805, where it is said that 

Notes. 341 

Hill got most of his collection from MacNab, a blacksmith, at Dalmaly in Argyle- 
shire. ... In June, 1872, I had begun to think that Hill's work had been 
destroyed. I have failed to discover a copy in London, Edinburgh, or Dublin, or 
Oxford or anywhere ; and I have been driven to the Gentlemen's Magazine and to 
the 'Report on Ossian' for information concerning Hill's Collection. . . . Mr. 
Hill finished his publication with a short Dissertation, July 10, 1783 (See Note 30), 
in which he comes to the same conclusion which I have reached in June, 1872." 

28 (page 141). I cannot identify this book. 

29 (page 157). Dr. Donald Masson, to whom, as I have explained in the preface, 
I owe all these notes on Hill's poems, writes to me : 

" It happens that the text you have to work upon is just an uncorrected proof, 
printed from bad MS., in an unknown tongue. What I have done to the proof 
has been a tough job. But it has been very interesting. The ' lucid intervals ' in 
the translation have sufficed to furnish a clue to the original scribe's style of 
writing. He never crossed his t's, nor did he often dot his Ts. His small b 
seems to have been to the printer's eye indistinguishable from his capital C. 
Once I got this clue, the correction of the proof became easy." See also note 27 
P- 336- 

30 (page 173). Considering the important bearing which Mr. Hill's conclusions 
have upon the question according to Mr. Campbell's opinion (see above, note 27), 
I have inserted here the full text of Hill's remarks on Ossian, 1783, Part II., pp. 


I. Of the Evidence afforded by the foregoing Poems ; that there are Songs tradition- 
ally preserved in the Highlands and attributed to Ossian ; containing Farts of 
the Poems, published by Mr. Macfherson and Mr. Smith, under the Name of 
that Bard. 

II. Of the Authenticity of the Ossian of Macpherson and Smith : hotvfar it is 
founded upon the Highland Songs ; and how far those Songs may be regarded as 

the real Works of Ossian. 

III. Of the Country of Ossian, whether he was an Highlander or an Irish- 

IV. Of the real Character of Ossian and the Fingalians, and who they probably 


IT is evident, Mr. Urban, from the collection of Erse Poems which I have sent 
you, that there are many traditional songs preserved in the Highlands relating to 
Fingal and his Heroes, as well as to several other subjects. It is also evident, that 
these songs contain portions of the very poems published by Mr. Macpherson and 
Mr. Smith, under the name of Ossian. We may therefore justly conclude that 
those poems are not wholly the forgery of their editors, but compiled at least from 
original songs.* I by no means think it worth my while to notice the various 
concessions in favour of this conclusion, which the minor antagonists of Ossian 
have of late been forced to make. I myself have given proofs of it, which need, 
I hope, no external confirmation. To these proofs might be added that I met 
with many traditional preservers of these songs in every different part of the 
Highlands ; some of whom, especially in Argyleshire, Lochaber, and on the rest 
of the western coast, were said to possess various poems attributed to Ossian, 
although I had neither leisure nor opportunity to collect copies from them. 
But enough has already been said on this subject, if my testimony deserves- 

See Mag. for Dec. last, p. 570 [ante, p. 138]. 

342 Notes. 


These principles being established, it remains to be considered how far the 
poems published by Macpherson and Smith deserve to be considered as the works 
of Ossian. 

The foregoing songs, attributed to that bard, which contain passages of the 
Ossian of Macpherson and Smith, are by no means uniformly consistent with the 
poems in which the parallel passages are found, but frequently relate to different 
events, and even contain different circumstances. From hence it seems most 
probable that Mr. Macpherson and Mr. Smith compiled their publications from 
those parts of the Highland songs which they most approved, combining them 
into such forms as, according to their ideas, were most excellent, and preserving 
the old names and the leading events.* In this process they were supported and 
encouraged by the variety of songs preserved in the Highlands upon the same 
subject, and by the various modes in which the same event is related. Mr. Mac- 
pherson may indeed have MSS. of all the poems he has published ; which MSS. 
may either have been compiled by himself, or by some former collector ; or they 
may possibly contain entire poems really ancient. But Mr. Smith has honestly 
acknowledged that he himself compiled his Ossian in the manner above described. 
" After the materials were collected," says he, " the next labour was to compare 
the different editions, to strike off several parts that were manifestly spurious, f to 
bring together some episodes that appeared to have a relation to one another, 
though repeated separately, and restore to their proper places some incidents that 
seemed to have run from one poem into another: and hence it was unavoidably 
necessary to throw in sometimes a few lines or sentences to join some of the 
episodes together I am sensible that the form of these poems is considerably 
altered from what is found in any one of the editions from which they are com- 
piled. They have assumed somewhat more of the appearance of regularity and 
art than that bold and irregular manner in which they are originally de- 

Mr. Smith also speaks of the Ossian of Mr. Macpherson in a somewhat similar 
manner.* "That we have not the whole of the Poems of Ossian, or even of the 
collection translated by Mr. Macpherson, we allow : yet still we have many of 
them, and of almost all a part. The building is not entire, but we have still the 
grand ruins of it." 

What portion, therefore, of the Ossian of Macpherson and Smith is original no 
man can determine except themselves. Smith indeed says that he has mentioned 
all his material alterations, transpositions, and additions in his notes ; and that, 
for the most part, he was guided in them by the Sguelachds, or traditionary tales 
accompanying the songs : but there are few such notes in his books, and perhaps 
as few such Sgeulachds in the mouths of the Highlanders. In Macpherson and 
Smith also we see these poems divested of their idiomatic peculiarities and fabulous 
ornaments, which renders it impossible to discover what manners and opinions are 
really ancient, and what are of modern invention. Yet it is remarkable that, in 
spite of all the objections to their authenticity necessarily produced by such a 
treatment of them, they still possess an internal evidence of originality, which has 
enabled them hitherto to withstand all the torrent of opposition. 

The Ossian of Macpherson and Smith appears therefore to be a mutilated work ; 
even though we should suppose that the songs they originally compiled from were 
the undoubted works of that celebrated bard. But this is far from being the case ; 
for even allowing that an Ossian ever existed and wrote, yet time must have intro- 
duced such material changes in his works, if preserved merely by tradition during 
so long a period, that their own author would hardly know them again. I think 

* See Gent. Ma., Dec., p. 571 [ante, p. 139]. 

t Such as the Cuach Fhin, etc. See Mag. for Feb. pp. 143, 144 [ante, p. 153]. 

J Smith, Galic Antiq., pp. 128 to 130. 

Notes. 343 

it, however, doubtful whether such a being as Ossian ever appear'd in the 

All the songs which I met with in the Highlands relative to the Feinne, or 
Fingalians, were attributed to Ossian ; his name seems merely a common title, 
which is ascribed to all the poetic annals of his race.* 

From these considerations we seem authorised finally to conclude that the Ossian 
of Macpherson and Smith is a mutilated compilation from Highland songs ascribed, 
indeed, to that bard, yet very little likely to be his composition. Out of these 
they selected the best parts, and rejected such as they thought might discredit the 
character of Highland antiquity, attributing them to later times, and the ignorant 
bards of the fifteenth century. Perhaps even the works of Homer himself, which 
had so many different editions, very considerably varying from each other, were 
compiled by a somewhat similar process from the ancient Greek songs. f 


Another question remains to be considered : Whether these songs are the com- 
positions of the Highlands or of Ireland? and, Whether Ossian was an Irish or 
Caledonian Scot ? I have already expressed my opinion that the songs in this 
collection evidently manifest a connection with Ireland, though their traditional 
preservation in Scotland has sometimes introduced the name of Scotland in its 
stead. J One of their principal personage! is St. Patrick, the peculiar Apostle of 
Ireland, which alone seems sufficient to mark their origin. If therefore we may 
reason from a part to the whole, it is just to conclude that all the other songs pre- 
served in the Highlands relative to the Fingalians are also Irish. They are 
wholly confined to the Western coast of the Highlands, opposite Ireland, || and the 
very traditions of the country themselves acknowledge Ihe Fingalians to be 
originally Irish. The genealogy of Fingal was there given me as fellows : Fion 
Mac Coul, Mac Trathal, Mac Arsht Riogh Erin, or King of Ireland, thus attribut- 
ing the origin of his race to the Irish. I am inclined to believe that these notions 
about Fingal were common to the Scots in the most ancient times, and brought by 
them from Ireland to Scotland, the hereditary supersiition of both races ; for, not- 
withstanding it may appear most probable that Ireland should receive colonies 
from Scotland than the contrary, we have direct historic evidences that Scotland 
received them from Ireland, and no bare theoretic probability deserves to be 
opposed to the positive asserlions of history. 

With regard to the Erse manuscripts, about which so much has been said, it 
becomes me to acknowledge that I have never seen enough of them to give any 
decided opinion ; those which I have seen, induce me to think they principally 
owe their existence to Ireland. IT 

I shall not repeat what others have said to prove the Fingalians Irish : though 
the connection of Fingal